welcome to nhk world "newsline," i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some stories we're following this hour. a north korean military delegation went to cuba last month. some experts think the two countries may have arranged a weapons shipment during the visit. nelson mandela reaches a milestone, his 95th birthday, and people around the world celebrate doing good deeds in his name.
>> and assessing abenomics as japanese prepare to vote in a national election. one of the top issues they'll be considering prime minister shinzo abe's economic policy. the discovery of a cache of missile parts on a north korean ship is raising suspicions about the north's relations with cuba. a north korean military delegation went to cuba last month. some experts say the two countries may have arranged the weapons shipment during the visit. on july 11th, the panamanian authorities stopped the freighter and found the missile components on board. north korean foreign ministry officials say the seized cargo was only aging weapons being sent for repairs. they say these would have been returned to cuba under a legitimate contract. north korea urged panama to release the freighter and crew without delay.
but some think north korea military officials arranged the weapons shipment during the recent visit to cuba. the delegation headed by north korea's chief of general staff, kim kyok sik was in cuba until july 1st. and held talks with raul castro. the north's state-run news agency reports that the discussions focused on ways to further development friendly military and relations. japan's chief cabinet secretary says the japanese government is doing its best to urge the north and civilian relations. they're worried china's state-run oil companies could siphon off gas under waters claimed by japan. the top government spokesperson in tokyo says any such plans are unacceptable. >> translator: we cannot accept any unilateral action by china to develop gas fields in waters where territories claimed by the two countries overlap. >> reuters says china's state-run oil companies plan to
develop seven new gas fields in the east china sea. two sites are near the line. japanese leaders say bisects china and japan. chinese leaders say their zone extends closer to their country's continental shelf. japanese and chinese officials have yet to agree where boundaries lie, but agreed to work together to make peace, cooperation, and friendship. he says he'll keep on presenting japan's position to the chinese. u.s. military commanders are realigning their forces in south korea to better deal with any provocation from the north. they've broken ground for a new headquarters in a suburb of the capital, seoul. commanders plan to have the building finished in two years. and they'll move troops and equipment there from an old base
in central seoul. they say 150 soldiers will work in the new location. a senior officer said they'll be ready for any threats from north korea and any other contingency on the peninsula. >> our action today show our continued commitment to ensure a credible deterrence against -- and maintain prosperity for the korean people. >> u.s. and south korean forces share command in the event of war. americans are due to give south koreans sole command in december 2015, but south koreans asked them to postpone that plan earlier this month because of tension on the korean peninsula. senior diplomats from japan and south korea have taken another step towards mending ties. relations have been strained by disputes over territorial claims and historical issues.
japanese foreign minister kishida met with south korea's first vice foreign minister. kim is in the japanese capital for an event marking the renovation of south korea's embassy. >> translator: south korea and japan are partners that must work together for peace and stability in the region. >> translator: japan and south korea share basic values and interests. i hope we can have smoother communication to improve our relationship. >> senior japanese and south korean diplomats have held several meetings this month. kishida said he and kim agree it's important to hold high-level exchanges, but he said they did not discuss anything specific between a summit meeting between their countries' leaders.
a romanian woman says she burned masterpieces by picasso, monet, and other artists. she alleges her son stole them from a museum in the netherlands last year. seven artworks were taken from the museum last october. security camera footage shows the thieves carrying the paintings. the stolen works are worth tens of millions of dollars. they include monet's "waterloo bridge." three romanians were arrested in january for their alleged involvement in the heist. romanian media reports say the mother of the alleged ring leader told police she became scared after her son's arrest and burned the paintings in her stove. investigators found remains of canvas and paint in the ashes. they are trying to confirm if the fragments come from the stolen works. the trials of the woman and the gang are scheduled to begin next month.
experts from the w.h.o. say the middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus is not a global health emergency, but they warn mers should be monitored very closely. the world health organization scientists held an emergency committee meeting to assess the status of the virus. 82 people are confirmed infected. they mainly live in the middle east and europe. 66 are in saudi arabia. 45 have died around the world. >> based on the current situation when they look at everything and weigh everything, they feel that there's not enough evidence for w.h.o. and the director general to go ahead and declare public health emergency, a global public health emergency of international concern. >> but fukuda called for vigilance, citing new infections and a high fatality rate among those infected. the family involves the virus that caused the sars epidemic.
nelson mandela marked his 95th birthday. the antiapartheid leader and former south african president has been there for over a month receiving treatment for a lung ailment. he's been out of the public eye, but very much on the minds of admirers, both at home and abroad. >> happy birthday! >> nelson mandela, i wish you can get well soon. >> people around the world have been celebrating mandela's birthday and wishing for his recovery. and they are honoring his legacy by giving back to their communities. nhk world reports. >> reporter: nelson mandela is an icon for millions of people around the world. he fought for decades from behind bars to end racial segregation in his country and
went on to lead the nation. people gathered in front of the hospital in pretoria where mandela has been staying. they came to pray for his recovery. events honoring mandela were held farther away, too. world leaders gave celebratory speeches. they called on people to emulate his spirit of service. for the last four years, united nations has observed july 18th as nelson mandela international day. >> i ask you to celebrate by following his example, by doing your best to help others with a full, happy, grateful heart. >> i would like to encourage everyone to do something worthy for someone else on mandela day. >> happy birthday!
>> reporter: the nelson mandela foundation and numerous other groups asked people to volunteer for 67 minutes on mandela's birthday, to mark the 67 years mandela spent fighting politics. south african diplomats stationed in japan did just that. officials from the south african embassy in tokyo had a chance to visit this group home for the elderly who have been around for as long as nelson mandela. nine officials visited a facility for the elderly in tokyo. some of the residents are older than mandela, some are over 100. the diplomats cleaned the windows and doors. they helped prepare beds and tidied up residents' rooms.
they taught the elderly japanese, some south african childrens games. >> translator: i didn't understand what they were saying, but they gave me a lot of energy. they gave me the strength to keep living. >> mandela day is about giving, it's about getting, it's about enjoying that you develop the community and you care about those who are less disadvantaged. we want it spread the spirit of working together and assisting each other. >> reporter: at 95, nelson mandela continues to make his mark on people around the globe, inspiring them to make the world a better place. nhk world, tokyo.
it's crunch time for politicians in japan. they have two days left to sell their platforms before a national election. voters will decide on sunday who should represent them in the upper house of their diet. and as they fill out their ballots, they'll also be considering whether to give prime minister shinzo abe and his liberal democratic party more power. the ldp controls the lower house, but opposition parties hold the majority of seats in the upper chamber. and that's created a divided diet where passing legislation can be tricky. in the lead-up to when japan decides, we've been looking at some of the key campaign issues and hearing from voters about what matters to them. candidates from these nine parties are running in the election. the groups qualified for political party status. others that failed to meet the standards are still fielding
candidates. in all 433 candidates including independents are running in this election. many voters in japan will be thinking about their pocketbooks when they cast ballots in the upper house election. the economy has remained stagnant for the past two decades. and the country's key stock index, the nikkei, has stayed almost flat since the global financial crisis five years ago. but things change when prime minister shinzo abe took over. he vowed his pies dubbed abenoics would get the nation out once and for all. >> reporter: prime minister abe rushed to implement what he called the three arrows of his economic policy as soon as he took office. >> translator: japan's biggest challenge is reviving the economy.
>> reporter: abe's first arrow fiscal spending. first administration allocated $100 billion meaning to fund public works projects. abe called on business leaders to raise wages so workers could enjoy the trickledown effect of the stimulus. the second arrow focused on monetary easing. abe named kuroda and quickly fulfilled expectations and eased massive measures. >> translator: we'll do everything necessary. >> reporter: central bankers announced a plan to double funds pumped into the economy. they say they can achieve a 2% inflation rate within two years. investors responded immediately. the dollar topped the 100 yen mark for the first time in four
years. the key nikkei index exceeded 15,000 points, the first in five and a half years. abe designed his first two arrows for immediate effect. his third arrow, a growth strategy, is aimed at getting the economy on a full fledged recovery track. >> translator: the focal point of my growth strategy is using the full potential of the private sector. >> reporter: the strategy encompasses 250 programs. some of the goals include raising corporate capital investment by 10%, acquiring $50 billion worth of share in the overseas health care market and boosting agricultural exports to $10 billion. prime minister abe threw his weight behind the strategy traveling abroad to support japanese exports from sushi to
infrastructure. but many investors said the plan lacked major deregulation and reforms. >> the prime minister is trying to win support heading into election day by highlighting what his administration has achieved with abenomics. nhk world brings us the voters' view. >> reporter: shoppers in japan seem to have more of a spring in their step these days. consumer sentiment is improving encouraging people to spend more. store managers say sales of brand name items and high end goods have picked up over the past six months. >> translator: i received a big bonus, so i felt like spending. >> translator: we are hoping this won't be just a temporary boom. we hope customers will buy more. >> reporter: retail isn't the only sector reaping the benefits
of abenomics. this man runs a company that makes outdoor power equipment. he says the weaker yen has caused his business to boom. >> translator: we expect our operating profits to rise this year because of foreign exchange rates. >> reporter: customers all over the world buy the company's chain saws and other products. managers say they're selling goods in 92 countries. the firm had been struggling because of the strong yen. every increase added up to more than $1 million in losses. >> translator: a one-yen surge blows off what we had accumulated. abe has taken bold steps. that's something previous prime ministers couldn't do.
>> reporter: but a weaker yen means the cost of imports, such as fuel and raw materials, are surging. trucking firms have been feeling the pinch. >> translator: we have to spend nearly half of the money we make on fuel. we're barely hanging on. >> reporter: the more trucks she has on the road, the higher her operating costs. and she can't pass those increases onto her customers because competition in her industry is too fierce. >> translator: 99% of the trucking industry consistentss small and medium size businesses. if we fail, it will have an impact on the nation's economy. >> reporter: some people are concerned abenomics will have a major impact on their lives. this woman and her husband have a pension of about $50 a month. she says with prime minister abe
and the b.o.j. trying to end deflation, she's already noticed prices are gradually rising. her husband's medical bills are adding up, too. their expenses are starting to eat into their savings. >> translator: i can't sleep when i start thinking whether i have enough money. >> reporter: it will be hard to find someone in japan who doesn't want the economy to make a successful turnaround. they're just divided on whether abenomics will do the trick. nhk world, tokyo. >> our coverage ahead of the upper house election will continue on friday. we'll look at what prime minister abe has accomplished since he took office in december and highlight his plans for the future. nhk world's special coverage of japan's upper house election
is just a click or tap away. we're adding a host of features to our web and mobile sites. you'll find backgrounders and analysis, plus in-depth reports on the issues that could define the campaign. from the economy to the constitutional debate, www.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/election. get online and get informed. the international monetary fund has issued a record on the chinese economy. it warns of the risks of so-called shadow banking though it says the pace of growth for 2013 will stay as high as the previous year. in the latest annual assessment of china's economy, the imf forecast growth at around 7.75% for this year. it says strong domestic demand will offset the negative impact from a global slowdown. but the imf also says the country faces a number of problems on financial and fiscal issues and the real estate
sector. specifically, the imf pointed out the risks of expanding shadow banking transactions. it says the money raised through financial products that are opaque and not properly regulated are follow to local development projects and real estate investments. observers say the government is to blame. they say the policy of limiting interest rates on bank deposits has fueled the expansion of shadow banking. that's because depositors seek higher returns. the imf urged monetary authorities to step up their regulation on such activities and let banks set their deposit rates freely. here are the latest market figures.
heavy rain in northern japan. meteorologist robert speta is here with more. robert. >> let's start with what's going on here into yamagata prefecture, specifically where you saw a tremendous amount of rainfall from this low pressure area that pushed through on wednesday going into thursday. about 150 millimeters fell in some areas out here. you also saw report of a landslide. i want to show you video of some flash flooding that took place. now, this was a driving school there into northern japan where this river flooded,over flowed its banks. about 50 people including some students evacuated towards the second floor of this school building while the driving course itself completely
submerged. so obviously classes are canceled, couldn't carry on. good news, everybody was rescued. no injuries coming out of it. but, yeah, we've been seeing that heavy rainfall. we had the report of landslide earlier on today. good news as well, this low pressure area that brought all that rain, it's moving off towards the east giving way to some high pressure. that's actually bringing in warm air from the south. still pop-up thunderstorms possible across most of japan, even into the tohoku area. saw strong storm blow up into the afternoon and evening hours, that's typical during the summer months, but really for the most part the heaviest rainfall is farther off there towards the west into northeastern china extending to the southwest. one report in the past hours sichuan province saw about 290 millimeters. you've also seen reports of flooding and landslides out there as well. heaviest stuff going into friday and saturday will be here towards the northwest of beijing. you have that low pressure area continuing to push through bringing that risk of flooding about 100 to 200 millimeters even some areas about 250
millimeters. not just the front though. we have two tropical areas we're watching to the south and south china sea. first, i want to talk about tropical storm making landfall currently into gaun dong province dropping some rainfall. about 230 millimeters reported in taiwan. the good news is the heaviest storms will remain just near the coastline. don't expect it to track far inland. it's going to continue to weaken out here. also we have another tropical depression starting to form in the south china sea. this one and going into friday actually expect to become a tropical storm. big impact from this is going to be the rainfall that enhancement of the monsoon in vietnam and then slowly working its way off towards china. into the americas, well, we've been talking about the heat out here recently. and it is quite hot, hot and muggy. the good news especially for the great lakes area into the northeast as well we have a cold front that's going to start to drift down towards the south. and as that does come through,
it's going to drop down the temperatures. and that is the good news. with it though you are going to see some severe weather, some destructive winds possibly, some hail, not really expecting a tornado outbreak with this. but it is going to be some rough stuff. but like i said, the good news -- and thankfully for many people out here especially the young and the elderly who are very vulnerable to the heat is that things will start to cool off. 25 by sunday in chicago. that's coming down from 35. even 36 on friday. over towards washington, d.c., 37. that's going to drop down to sunday 30 as well. getting below average. that's some good news. in europe, well, there is some rough weather into the scandinavian peninsula. for the most part high pressure is dominating. we are having some pop-up thunderstorms continue to flourish into southern france, northern italy. but here as well the heat has been the main topic. there is going to be a cooldown going into saturday for the most part. then we're going to see the heat reemerge by sunday. paris back up to 34, frankfurt at 30, berlin, 28 here on
before we go, white lion cubs have become a star attraction at a zoo in western japan. the five cubs were born last month at the himeji central park. a lioness gave birth to twins. another had triplets four days later. the cubs weigh about three kilograms each. keepers feed them with milk five times a day. they're attracting many children and their camera-wielding parents. >> translator: so cute. >> translator: adorable when they play together. >> the cameras -- or the cubs rather will be on display through the end of next month. that's "newsline" for this hour. i'm gene otani in tokyo. from all of us here at nhk world, thanks for joining us.