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tv   Newsline  PBS  May 11, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm PDT

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glad to have you on this edition of "newsline." 11:00 a.m. in tokyo. tokyo electric power company says highly radioactive water has been leaking into the se southeast at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant but it's been plugged. they found the contaminated water flowing from a pipe into a pit near the number three reactor on wednesday morning.
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the workers filmed near want intake pipe and found toxic water leaking from the wall of the pit into the ocean. tepco says the water contained 37,000 becquerels of cesium 134 per cubic centimeters or 600,000 times over government limits. they found seawater between the intake and nearby special barrier was 32,000 times above limits for cesium 134. the barrier was supposed to prevent radioactive water from spilling into the sea. the firm managed to stop the leak later in the day after it blocked the pipe and buried the pit in concrete. last month tepco confirmed that radioactive water leaked into the ocean from a cracked pit outside the number two reactor. that leak, too, was stopped. the crisis at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant started on march 11th. a magnitude 9.0 quake and massive tsunami crippled the facility. the earthquake cut the power supply, and the huge waves
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swamped the plant's emergency generators. without power, the cooling systems for the nuclear reactors stopped. tepco started injecting water into the reactors to keep them from overheating, but radioactive substances continue to leak into the air and the sea. people living within 20 kilometers of the plant were ordered to evacuate their homes. >> one month later japan's authorities raised the nuclear crisis level to 7, the highest on the international scale. tepco announced about a month ago that it would bring the crisis under control in six to nine months. high levels of radiation at the plant are slowing its efforts. fukushima daiichi is a long way away from being stabilized. the nuclear and industrial safety agency apologized to the fukushima governor for not
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having a solid system in place to deal with the loss of power at the plant. discussions are now under way about why japan could not prevent the worst nuclear accident in its history from happening. earlier we spoke with junko about the background of the crisis. >> junko, what is the focus of the discussions? >> one main focus is how nuclear power is regulated in japan. here is how things work right now. the regulatory body is the nuclear and industrial safety agency. it's under the ministry of economy, trade and industry. the government energy policy means this minimstry is responsible for nuclear power generation. keep in mind that the same goal is what private utility companies have, including tepco, which reports from nisa. they receive advice from experts at the nuclear safety
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commission. many experts say having nisa attached to the government ministry sxand not making it it independent means tlz a causal relationship with the you'll tilts. >> is it common to be part of the ministry that promotes nuclear power? >> the international convention on nuclear safety requires effective separation between the functions of the regulatory body and those of the promoter. many countries in the world do not have two functions under one ministry. japan and some other countries do. the japanese government says nisa was attached to the ministry of economy, trade and industry because it wanted to secure the integrity of its energy policy. >> didn't anyone think this structure needed to be changed? >> yes, some politicians and people inside the nuclear circle thought it wasn't right. i interviewed a former governor of fukushima prefecture. he told me that 11 years exposed
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the connection between the nuclear safety agency and tepco. >> translator: the first whistleblower revealed there was a crack in a reactor. tepco shaved the reactor to conceal the crack and kept using it it. the nuclear and industrial safety agency received the information from the whistleblower. it pastsed it onto tepco. the agency abandoned its duty. they were two of a kind. >> and the historic tsunami caused the crisis, but how radioactive materials leaking into the environment must be examined, what do experts say about the issue? >> the former commissioner of the nuclear safety commission
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questions ktepco's handling of the crisis. they injektsed water into the reactors to cool them down. it was soon revealed a lot of contaminated water accumulated on site. tepco decided to release the water into the sea. he says tepco should have done something before releasing the water in the pacific ocean. he thinks the company's ability to control the plant has deteriorated. >> our generation thought we had to be very careful and competent to deal with nuclear power, but as time went on, ordinary people began to take care of nuclear power. there were only a few nuclear power plants in the past, but the number increased to 30, 40, and more. the downside is people stopped feeling nuclear power should be treated with special caution. >> so what is japan's government going to do to strengthen the nuclear safety? >> the government is going to make the nuclear and industrial
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safety agency more independent. the ministry of economy, trade and industry says they should start discussions on the separation of nisa from the ministry. the government also says it will examine what went wrong at the plant. it says the result of that investigation must be disclosed not only to the japanese people but to the world. >> of course to the world. junko reporting for us tonight. thanks. diplomats from around the world got to sample delicacies from northeastern japan on wednesday at an event organized by prime minister kan. the get-together gave the prime minister a chance to say thank you for the support the international community extended following the march 11th earthquake and tsunami. diplomats from about 130 countries took part in the event in tokyo held exactly two months after the disaster. >> translator: we would like to express our appreciation for the
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funds, technology and compassion that poured into japan from around the world. the support was evidence of the strong ties that exist between japan and the sbernltd community at a time when japan was laid low by natural disaster and a nuclear crisis. >> kan referred to his government's decision to reduce aid to developing nations when it drew up a first 2011 supplementary budget in order to finance the reconstruction of the affected areas. he said once japan has rebuilt the quake-hit regions, it will redouble its efforts to help developing countries. at the event the diplomats were offered liquor and delicacies from the region. the steals have been hurt by unfounded fears of radioactive contamination. the first thai tour group since the march 11th disaster is on its way to japan.
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an association of thai travel agencies came up with the idea for the tour to encourage tourists sites severely affected by the disaster. the tour titled "japan our best friend" includes officials from travel companies and the media what departed from bangkok airport on wednesday. during the five-day trip they will visit mount fuji, the hot spring resort and tokyo disneyland. >> translator: i want to confirm with my own eyes that most of the tourist spots in japan are safe. >> the number of thai visitors to japan had been growing before the disaster topping 200,000 for the first time last year. since the march quake almost all tours from thailand have been canceled, including those two western japan, which is barely affected by the disaster. nice to see the tourists returning to japan.
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time to check in on business news. we have the latest. ai. >> thanks a lot. the credit account marked the first drop in two months due to the march 11th disaster. the finance ministry said in a preliminary report on thursday that the surplus for march totaled around $20.7 billion, that's a plunge of 34.3% from yen terms from a year earlier. the current account surplus from february to march dropped 24.8% to $46.7 billion. this was mainly due to a 78% drop in the trade surplus in march stemming from plunging auto exports and crude oil price surge. there was an 8% drop in the income balance, which includes returns on foreign investment. toyota motor intends to normalize production at its factories in asia later this month ahead of its other
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overseas factories. the automaker is hoping to keep it's competitive edge in the region. following the march 11th earthquake, toyota slashed production at 17 factories in the asia-pacific region due to parts shortages. output at the factories dropped by 30%. toyota says the factories can secure enough parts from japanese suppliers by the end of may in order to resume full production. it also says they will use substitute parts for some models. the automaker plans to begin raising output at factories in malaysia, indonesia and india on may 23rd. it will take about one more for output to reach pre-disaster level. japan's three major chemical makers had losses for the year just ended in march. industry leader said it took a loss of about $270 million in reconstruction costs for its
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damaged plant. sumito chemicals reported losses of about $12 million due to factory stoppages. the companies have recorded strong sales group boosted by robust demand in asian countries. their profits increased as well, but the disaster hit their bottom line. major indices for the japanese economy showed record falls in march when compared with the previous month. it's due to the impact of the march disaster. the cabinet office released the indices on wednesday. the coincident index stood at 103.6. that's down 3.2 points from february marking largest decline ever. the drop is due to a plunge in construction after the quake interrupted supply chains. the sharp declines were other negative factors. the leading index that projects
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the economic status several months ahead fell 4.5 points, which is another record drop. the office says the disaster's impact on the economy needs to be watched closely. tokyo stocks are lower on thursday morning following a decline in new york shares. the nikkei ended at 9,786. that's down 77 points or about three-fourths of a percent from wednesday's close. a wide range of shares have been sold. observers say uncertainty over the japanese economy is weighing down market sentiment as many firms didn't provide forecasts when reporting last business year's results. the dollar is gaining ground against the you'euro and yen. the euro is trading between 115.45 to 48 yen. market sources say the
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downgrading of greek bonds prompted investors to sell the euro and buy the dollar. in parallel to these mooufls, the yen was sold. a look at the latest long-term interest ratd. the yield olt 10-year japanese government bond down half a basis point this session. we are seeing losses across other asian markets as well. mainland china shares are currently down about half a percent, where as hong kong is down nearly 1% this thursday morning. two months after the march 11th earthquake and snatsunami, attention is drawn to the future course of the jap dmeanese econ. we focus on japan's business outlook. first up is the material maker of torrey industries. >> he took the position as company head in june of last
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year. he has made clear he has no intention of letting the march disaster alter his long-term management strategy. >> translator: we will expand or businesses and growth regions such as china. as for our growth business domain, we will exed up and down sales of environment-related products. the disaster has not changed our management strategy. >> reporter: nearly half the company's $18.5 billion in steals are based on overseas business. t torrey has advanced clothing materials to resin used for electrical appliances to various car parts and materials. it's also attracting worldwide attention for its water pure sighing technology. a fine meshed membrane is the
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key to making seawater and other nonconsumable water drinkable. toray says the development could purr fi water contaminated with radioactive substances from the crippled fukushima nuclear plant. >> translator: we are testing possibilities right now. our technology eliminating very fine substances. water.may be effective in >> reporter: two months since the march disaster, corporate production across many industries is still hindered by a shortage of parts, unreliable power supply and the unresolved nuclear emergency. come countries now call for radiation checks on japanese products before they are shipped out. disrupted supply chains in japan have affected businesses around
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the world. will the ongoing emergency encourage these companies to look elsewhere for their sources? >> translator: the worries are understandable. japanese parts and materials are chosen for their quality and cost performance. generic products, well, they're already being produced abroad. i think it's unlikely that the quake results in an accelerated shift away from japanese parts. >> finally, can we have a message to you're viewers? >> translator: witnessing how industries worldwide are affected by the earthquake, i'm reminldded of what a big
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contribution japan makes to the world. japanese manufacturers invest years of research. we make legitimate products. as a material maker toray is developing innoevative products. i would like people abroad to be rest assured that japan continues to strive for a rapid recovery. >> now, during the interview he emphasized the government's need to back up small and mid-sized firms. he believes that's essential for the economy recovery since they underpin the nation's industry. now time for a recap of the latest market figures fmpltz .
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. . . u.s. geological survey said it struck near the town of lorca shortly before 7:00 p.m. on wednesday local time.
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>> another quake measuring 4.35 shook the area about 90 minutes earlier. the focuses of the two tremors were less than 2 kilometers. they say dozens of people were injured and were hospitalized. it's located 650 kilometers south of the capital city of madrid. it it has about 90,000 residents and boasts many buildings including a medieval fortress. a u.s.-sponsored class has agreed on the need to apply the lessons from the earthquake and tsunami in japan to strengthen local systems for disaster risk management. government representatives and experts are participating in the global platform for disaster risk reduction in geneva for
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four days. a japanese panelist explained how rescue and relief efforts were hampered by the lack of gasoline and other fuels and broken communication lines. panelists expressed shock japan could not avoid devastation despite its reputation as one of the most prepared countries in the world. many voiced hope for japan's recovery. >> we have a tsunami and also like that also and maybe from japan we have so approximate many can learn. >> i think we have to really find, we have to check our own systems. thursday marks the third anniversary of a powerful earthquake that struck china's sichuan province. it devastated the province and surrounding areas leaving 87,000 people dead or missing. china's government has spent about $150 billion rebuilding
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houses and infrastructure. some residents and the administrative functions of the county have been transferred elsewhere. the government says it completed 95% of the work, including rebuilding 2.2 billion homes. it it hopes to finish the work by the end of september. a disparity is he merging since 500 households are still living in temporary housing. many survivors expect to lose construction jobs after government work ends. the local government will hold memorial services on thursday. it will likely stress the reconstruction achievements in a bid to boost the popularity of the ruling communist party. and al qaeda affiliate in yes, ma'am mon has warned of attacks on the united states to avenge the death of osama bin laden killed by u.s. special forces last week. it the group, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, issued the online warning in the name of
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its leader on wednesday. the warning said the matter is not over with bin laden's death, and what is coming is greater and worse. the group has been the most active kd affiliate in caring out attacks on the united states over the last sefrl years. it was involved in a failed attempt to blow up a paengs jet in 2009 stwls a bomb plot against a u.s.-bound cargo plane last october. for japan we're still talking about a lot of rainfall moving across the country. still have this long, frontal boundary producing a lot much rain and of course activity is in the hands of all of humid air from that tropical storm. that storm has become a tropical depression. we're talking about much more rain to fall across japan today.
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central areas liking at 120 to 150 millimeters possible in the next 24 hours. that's a lot more rainfall, so flooding and landslide risks are pretty high. that same frontal boundary is bringing rain across taiwan and through the southeast corner of china as well and plenty of more moisture is found in the southeast, too. it's like the indochina peninsula through the philippines looking at scattered showers, maybe some locally heavy downpours as well. here's a look at highs, and we're looking at 35 degrees in manila, hot in bangkok at 33, getting up to 26 in shanghai, but it's cooler in the past few days. beijing at 23 and toej yo today will be coming up to 18 degrees achlg a little warmer than yesterday. two-day outlook from the quake-affected weather. unsettled weather for thursday
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and friday. it starts up late thursday, and then that will last into the early morning hours of friday. but some areas will be looking at some gusty weather at times, also looking at locally heavy downpours possible in the early hours of friday. so you want to watch out for that. it's going to be a similar story for sendai and into onahama. the rain should ease on thursday and look drier on fry. with the sunshine it will get warmer, up to 25 degrees during the daytime so on the warm side here. looking at north america right now. still lots of activity fence kroos the plain states. we have the low out of the west. it interacts with all the humid air coming up from the gulf. we're talking about a severe weather threat again, and it's widespread throughout the midwest through the central plains and then into central
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texas. also, this bit here over the carolinas will be at risk of strong to severe thunderstorms, large hail, damaging winds and possible tornadic activity. you keep a close eye on your local watching and warnings. that moisture continues eastward into the mississippi valley. flood threat is very, very serious situation tile. for those of you downdown, the situation won't abate within the next couple of weeks. you want to stay on the watch and stay away from those rising rivers. out west it will continue to stay unsettled with showers coming in off the pacific. here's a look at highs on the cool side for vancouver with rain today and getting up to 13 degrees, remaining at 10 in winnipeg. chicago, another hot day for you there. all right. i'll leave you now with your three-day outlook.
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that wraps up this edition of "newsline." do stay with us.
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