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tv   Satellite News From Taiwan  PBS  December 24, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm PST

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hello and welcome to nhk "newsline." i'm keikichi hanada in tokyo with the latest at this hour. japan's prime minister is wrapping up the year trying to deal with a hung parliament. naoto kan has been holding discussions with a small opposition sunrise party of japan about joining the ruling coalition government. kan met a co-leader of the sunrise party on november 18th and december 4th to gauge the party's interest in becoming a member of the coalition.
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at the meeting kan offered a ministerial post to sunrise party chief and other senior party members including roles related to the abductions of japanese citizens by north korea. on wednesday, katsuya okada, the secretary-general of the main ruling and democratic party, met with them to ask for their support of the smooth execution of government policies. the sunrise party has three lower house and three upper house lawmakers. its members appear to be divided over kan's offer. political observers say the prime minister intends to form a more stable government by expanding his power base to deal with the split diet. the lower house is controlled by the ruling coalition while the coalition is a minority in the upper house. japan's top prosecutor's office has released results of its investigation into a postal
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fraud case that ended in the acquittal of a senior health ministry official. in the case handled by the osaka district public prosecutor's office last year, the court rejected most of the claims against the health ministry official. after an acquittal in september of this year, tsunehiko maeda, the prosecutor who headed the investigation, was arrested and indicted for allegedly altering data on a floppy disc submitted as evidence. two of his superiors were also indicted on suspicion of covering his actions. on friday the supreme public prosecutor's office concluded that prosecutors should not have arrested or indicted the health ministry official without thoroughly looking into evidence that contradicted their accusations. evidence tampering by the osaka prosecutor was blamed on systemic problems such as excessive pressure from superiors to incriminate the
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health ministry official. following the release of the in house investigation results the assistant prosecutor general of the supreme public prosecutor's office offered an apology. >> translator: we will implement measures to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. we will also do our utmost to live up to the expectations of the people. a high ranking official in a tokyo police force has admitted police involvement in the recent leaking of documents on international terrorism. but he refused to say whether the leaking of the documents was actually done by the police. more than 100 documents that appeared to be internal police papers were posted on the internet in october. they contained personal information on civilians who have cooperated in police
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investigations. at a news conference on friday a high ranking official in a tokyo metropolitan police department offered an interim report on its investigation into the incident. >> translator: we've confirmed that the leaked data contained some information that is highly likely to have been handled by officers of the tokyo metropolitan police force. >> but when asked whether the documents were created by police officers, he declined to comment, citing concerns over the reaction from countries mentioned in them as well as future obstacles to information gathering activities. he said the tokyo police force will continue to try and determine how the documents were leaked and who was responsible. the head of japan's national police agency takaharu ando says it is extremely regrettable that documents containing private information were leaked. >> translator: we will continue
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to fully investigate this case. it's important to shed light on it as soon as possible. we will do our utmost to protect those who are mentioned in the leaked documents and make our security system more secure. the izumi plain in southwestern japan is a well known wintering site for migratory birds including the more than 10,000 cranes tourists enjoy watching every winter. but this season bird lovers are worried about the fate of the birds. earlier this month several sick and dead hooded cranes were found across the plain. researchers detected the h5n1 strain of the avian influenza virus in one of them. as of friday at least one white
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necked crane also tested positive for the virus. on friday, conservationists changed the way they feed the birds to prevent the further spread of infection. trucks traveled three times farther than usual to scatter feed over a wider area to reduce contact among the birds. >> translator: i didn't find any sick birds, so i hope the outbreak will soon come to an end. >> 80% of the world's hooded crane population is thought to spend the winter on the izumi plain since people started feeding the birds there 40 years ago. this year conservationists have confirmed that more than 13,000 birds, including hooded cranes, have migrated from siberia. the detection of the deadly
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virus has brought the local tourism industry to a standstill. crane monitors say that every year, especially in winter, about 30,000 tourists visit the crane observation center in front of the feeding ground. but the facility has been closed since wednesday. souvenir shops and restaurants near the center have also closed. >> translator: i am really worried whether i can earn a living from family. >> translator: i am very concerned. i hope the cranes will safely fly north and then return here next season in good shape. >> one of the concerns is the outbreak's possible impact on the region's poultry farmers. kagoshima prefecture where izumi plain is located breeds the largest number of chickens in japan. prefectural officials found no
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abnormalities after conducting on-site inspections of more than 110 chicken farms in izumi city. but they have distributed disinfectants to all poultry farmers to prevent possible infections. >> translator: the situation is worrying. i hope things settle down as soon as possible. >> in the past, chickens infected with bird flu were culled and incinerated to prevent the spread of infection but experts say it is difficult to undertake such measures for wild birds. >> translator: we can restrict the movement of livestock and isolate them but wild birds freely travel from place to place. it's impossible for us to control their movement. >> those who monitor the cranes
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say they will continue feeding the birds, fearing that if they stop, the birds may fly elsewhere in search of food and endangered birds in other areas. and we have an update on this story. researchers announced friday that another hooded crane has been confirmed to be infected with the h5n1 bird flu virus. the preliminary test had come out negative. experts say ten birds, including nine cranes, have been found dead or sick around the izumi plain. japan's environment ministry says it will check what killed the birds as soon as possible. japan's draft budget for the next fiscal year beginning in april will be the largest ever. that's because of the costs of financing expanding social welfare and economic growth measures.
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the japanese government approved the draft budget amounting to $1.1 trillion at a cabinet meeting on friday. the total is $1.3 billion more than in this year's initial budget. the government is expecting tax revenues of only $490 billion for the year and plans to issue $530 billion in bonds to cover the shortfall. this amount of bonds is slightly smaller than this year, but it is still more than tax revenues for the second year running. the government was unable to slash the bond issuance because it needs more money to finance rising child allowances for families and filling the hole it expects because of planned corporate tax cuts. the government will submit the draft budget to the next diet session in january. general electric of the u.s.
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is planning to produce utility meters in japan for the next generation power network called smart grid. ge has announced an agreement with japan's fuji electric holdings to set up a joint venture in february through their subsidiaries. utility meters with communication functions essential for smart grid, which is designed for more efficient use of renewable energy. ge's move is expected to intensify competition in this market in japan. major japanese electronics makers like hitachi and toshiba are also trying to expand their business. higher oil prices worldwide are pushing up the cost of petrochemical products in japan. crude oil prices have been rising since october. investors are moving their speculative funds into the market as a result of the long-standing easy monetary policy in the united states. in japan, companies such as sumitomo chemical and prime
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polymer, a joint venture between mitsui chemicals and idemitsu kosan, decided to increase their prices for polyethylene and polypropylene by about 8% in january. bridgestone, japan's largest tiremaker, will raise the prices of its truck and bus tires by an average of 7% starting in march. other companies are expected to follow suit. there are concerns higher prices of petrochemical products may limit japanese manufacturers' profits. in a previous edition of "newsline," we reported that the companies have decided to raise their prices for polyester, but the correct products are polyethylene and polypropylene. we apologize for the error. in the last installment of our series "china rising," we look at the growing economic
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w the ity in china amid its government is trying to reduce the gap. nhk world's yuko fukuyama has more from beijing. >> reporter: recently, a dynamic plan has been put into practice to help ease the widening gap between rich and poor. a household system called fuko was adopted in 1958, it automatically divides residents into two groups, urban and rural. this was designed to stop people in the countryside from moving into the city. this was necessary in order to maintain the required number of farmers for agricultural production. the main restriction of the system is that the registration category can never be changed. however, this system does not entitle rural residents to the same level of benefits as their urban counterparts. it's now believed that this
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inequality is one of the main causes of the widening economic gap. the number of rural residents working in cities is growing year by year and they now play an important role in supporting the chinese economy. reform of the system is a matter of great urgency in china. for these families, living in this apartment buildings in beijing for eight years. this man has rural household residency. he came to beijing with the hope of becoming wealthy. however, reality often falls far shorter than expectations. his family is excluded from social benefits that are typically enjoyed by local residents. this is because he doesn't have urban household residency in beijing. the situation started to affect the education of his 7-year-old daughter.
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he wants her to start at a good elementary school, where beijing residents usually go. however, because of their rural family registration, she's not permitted to enroll. instead she must go to a school with a growing population where the educational level is said to be low. another problem is the medical system. unlike beijing residents, they are not eligible for medical insurance. so they cannot afford to go to the hospital. he's especially worried about his 1 1/2-year-old son, but all he can do is buy some medicine from a nearby store. >> translator: i came here so our family could lead a happy life. but our living conditions are totally different from beijing household residency holders.
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we are facing problems with our social and medical security as well as my children's education. >> reporter: in order to ease social inequality, some cities have begun dynamic reforms. sichuan province has been chosen as a pilot city for the reform effort. people with rural household residency now make up about half its population. the government took steps to begin reforming its household registration system. but providing equal social benefits to residents from rural areas, it hopes to offer them more security and to boost its economy. the new plan is the first in the country to eliminate inequality between urban and rural residents in the area of education and health care. once implemented, the plans will
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make it possible for more than 5 million rural residents to enjoy the same social security benefits as urban residents. >> translator: the household registration system is restricting people's movement. also, what lies beneath the system is the distinction of rank and rights, preventing social development. the situation must change. >> reporter: due to the innovative reform, people's lives have gradually begun to improve. this man is now 71 years old. he suffers from chronic illness and has difficulty breathing. he used to endure the pain because he could not afford to consult a doctor. however, 90% of his medical fees are now covered by medical insurance. he can go to the hospital frequently.
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>> translator: rural residents can now receive the same medical treatment as city dwellers. i am so relieved and grateful. my life has significantly improved. >> reporter: moreover, in order to close entitlement gaps between rural and urban residents, the government decided to spend a large amount of money on new equipment for rural hospitals. this hospital is newly equipped with the latest ultrasound equipment and x-ray labs and extended care wards. also, an ambulance has been purchased for emergencies. in order to improve medical skills, on the job training has been introduced. due to the reform, the number of patients visiting the hospital has increased by 50%. >> translator: the reform policy has greatly improved our facility, and the standard of medical care has progressed a lot.
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doctors, including myself, are satisfied as we can now provide a high level of treatment for our patients. >> reporter: reform of the household registration system is a great step forward, but many problems still remain. this man says the reform is necessary, but it will be difficult to extend it across china as the level of growth differs in each region and it is hard to secure the necessary funding. >> translator: no one knows if this reform will succeed. but one thing is for sure -- if the government does not provide ample funds and skilled personnel for rural locations, the reforms may lead to social problems. >> reporter: dynamic reform to ease the disparity in this nation has finally begun after
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half a century. however, it still has a long way to go before residents feel a sense of growth and positive change in their everyday lives. china has rapidly emerged as an economic power and is expanding its global presence, however, rapid progress has created problems that remain unsolved. living in beijing and seeing skyscrapers and young people fashionably dressed reminds me of tokyo, paris. however at the very same time, you can see residents who are going hungry and their children are not eligible to attend elementary schools. it is concerned that if left unchecked, the situation could lead to social instability. china still has structural problems to solve before the benefits of growth are shared equally and it can truly be
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called a developed country. i'm yuko fukuyama, in beijing. let's look at some of the news we have gathered from broadcasting stations across asia. we begin with this item sent by slrc, sri lanka. christmas is being celebrated all over sri lanka, including former war zones in the north for the first time since the end of the country's 25-year long civil war. christians as well as nonchristians are participating in the event. on christmas eve, shopping malls are crowded with people buying christmas trees and decorations. at the official residence of the president a special celebration was held at which the archbishop of colombo performed a christmas service and children sang carols. the thai province of phuket conducted a drill two days before the anniversary of the 2004 indian ocean tsunami.
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helicopters, boats, rescue vehicles equipped with first aid kits and satellite-based communication facilities were used in the exercise. it was conducted on the assumption that a massive quake in the indian ocean had triggered a tidal wave. the participants rehearsed how to evacuate people who are adrift at sea, trapped in buildings or injured and stranded on islands. in 2004, the tsunami killed at least 5,400 people in thailand's six west coast provinces. >> hi there. time for a look at the world's weather. i'm miwa gardner. let's start off with conditions as we enter our almost -- well, christmas weekend. we'll see a lot of cold air across many parts of east asia today. very large dome of high pressure is just sitting over mongolia, northern china, introducing really cool air all the way down toward southern areas of the
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country. in fact, a lot of this blue stuff will in fact be falling as snow or sleet from many areas. say that three times. across areas in japan, very strong low pressure area here. you can see winds are going to be incredibly high, maybe up to 70 kilometers per hour. and we're also going to see snow. lots of it will be piling up across the western side of japan. i'll show you just where we're going to get the heaviest part of it, all the way from hokkaido down even to areas like kyushu we could see snow. some places getting upwards of 100 centimeters in the next 24 hours or so. this is in addition to the snow we've seen since our thursday evening so just a lot of this very dangerous conditions as we'll see blizzard-like weather with the winds being very high and of course the waves will also be incredibly rough for the sea of japan side of the country. so something to watch out for. temperaturewise it's going to be cold. just 9 in tokyo. minus 8 in seoul. also below freezing in beijing. and look at shanghai.
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you're looking actually at some sleet, perhaps snow, with a high of just 4, seeing 8 in chongqing. a little warmer in hong kong and taipei but showers for both cities and 33 in bangkok. 28 with a chance of showers as well in manila. let's move along to north america. let's talk about what's going on in the west here. california just been inundated with rain. it turned to mud and of course mudslides. this is a big problem in southern california. these are cars stuck in mud. homes have been just inundated with these muddy messes and it is going to take rescue workers and cleanup crews many more days, likely into the christmas holiday weekend. this is where the bad news begins, because we have a very strong storm system already being felt across the pacific coast line especially in parts of the pacific northwest and into british columbia. that's going to be moving down into southern california, likely into saturday into your sunday so you do want to watch out for that. northern areas of the united
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states into canada, no real problems here but it is going to be a white christmas for many of you across the lower midwest and into the new england region over the weekend. this area, this dark blue purple, that really will be rain across texas and into the gulf states as it's not so cool here, just about 18 in houston. 3 in washington. 4 in new york. minus 1 in chicago. and 7 degrees in vancouver. as we look to europe, it's also going to be quite cold. in fact, very frigid into the weekend. very large dome of low pressure. that is going to be bringing snow, wind, and stormy weather across the mediterranean. where it's colder is going to be across anywhere from, say, paris over towards the baltic states. look at the temperatures. minus 3. that's your high. bitterly cold evening temperatures. 1 for the high in london. minus 6 in stockholm. just freezing in vienna and we're seeing 17 in athens. here's your extended forecast.
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a company in japan is hoping a popular domestic street snack will get mouths watering in china. it has opened a fast food store in shanghai to sell takoyaki dumplings. shirohato food corporation opened the store on friday. takoyaki is named after the
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octopus pieces contained in each dumbibling. a package of six at this store costs 20 yuan or $3. e pre relively hi for a snack food in china but ris omed l line in front of t shop.
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