lagg glad to have you. it's 11:00 a.m. in tokyo. i'm catherine kobayashi with your latest updates. the operator of the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant will announce on tuesday a revised plan to cool down the reactors one month after the original one. tokyo electric power company says it needs to pour water into the reactors. it had confirmed earlier that the fuel rods have melted, and may have burned holes in the number one reactor pressure vessel.
radioactive water is likely flowing from the containment vessel into the basement. tepco says it suspects a similar situation is happening in the number two and three reactors. the firm says it's considering pumping water out of the containment vessels and circulating it back into the reactors after cooling it with heat exchangers. it's also thinking of taking water from the basements of the reactor buildings and putting it back into the reactors after removing the radioactive substances. tepco is expected to keep to its original schedule of stabilizing the reactors within six to nine months. the japanese government will announce a plan on tuesday to help evacuees from around the troubled fukushima daiichi plant. it will have the first official schedule for assisting evacuees. the government is expected to allow them to re-enter the 20-kilometer exclusion zone to get their cars starting later this month. residents from the extended zone
will be asked to complete their evacuation by the end of the month. the government will announce measures to help them with employment and their business operations. it will decide when to lift the evacuation orders once the nuclear reactors have been stabilized. tepco hopes to do that within nine months. the government has drafted a bill to assist tepco with the compensation package. the utility has agreed to make provisional payouts while the bill passes through the diet. the operator of the fukushima plant has admitted that the reactor's backup cooling systems failed to function after the march 11 earthquake and tsunami struck. tepco revealed the plant's operation records on monday for the period following the disaster. the emergency backup systems were supposed to cool down the reactors when all external power failed. the one at the number one reactor worked for less than 10 minutes, and did not function for three hours.
the utility suspects that workers had manually shut down the system as pressure in the reactor had dropped so low they were afraid of damage. another backup system at the number one and two reactors lost power when the tsunami engulfed the batteries. tepco is still analyzing the data to assess the impact of the failure on the fuel rods. tepco says dozens of power generating trucks brought to the fukushima plant just after the disaster mostly proved useless. about 70 generator trucks headed to the plant after the quake knocked out external power and a tsunami disabled backup generators. the trucks came from tepco, the self defense forces, and other bodies. tepco says debris across the compound and flooded switch boards hampered the setup of the trucks. the company says a switch board for the number two reactor was eventually wired to one of the trucks about 24 hours after the disaster.
but a short time after that, a hydrogen explosion at the neighboring number one reactor damaged the wiring, cutting off the power supply from the truck. two days later, vehicles were damaged by flying chunks of concrete following a hydrogen explosion at the number three reactor. electricity was finally restored to the plant through the regular power grid 10 days after the quake and tsunami. the environment ministry says it will take three years to dispose of the massive amounts of debris left by the disaster in northeastern japan. the ministry has asked local governments that have not been affected by the disaster to accept some of the debris because the volume is so huge that municipalities in affected areas cannot handle it. 346 municipal governments across the country have so far accepted the request. under a guideline drawn up by the ministry, debris left in residential areas will be moved
to temporary disposal sites by the end of august, and will be either burned or buries by the end of march next year. debris in nonresidential areas will be moved to the temporary dumping sites by the end of next march and disposed of by the end of march 2014. now a look at the latest in business news. ai? thank you, catherine. euro zone finance chiefs have agreed to call on heavily indebted greece to step up fiscal reform in a bid to tackle credit worries over europe. finance ministers of 17 countries that use the euro currency convened in brussels on monday. the ministers discussed the greek debt problem. greece received financial support from euro zone nations and the international monetary fund last year, but it is behind on its fiscal reform. after the meeting, the chairman said that member countries agreed to ask greece to boost
its deficit reductionests including privatization of public firms. they also decided to go ahead with $110 billion in aid for portugal. they said that they would not be affected by dominique strauss-kahn's arrest for sexual assault. the u.s. treasury secretary has asked congress to raise the debt ceiling as the federal government has officially reached its borrowing limit. plans to use pension funds are being eyed to give the treasury additional room to borrow. the treasury department on monday released a letter from timothy geithner saying that the government has reached the borrowing limit set by the legislature. the limit prohibits the government from issuing new bonds to secure funds.
in an aim to free up borrowing capacity, geithner says he is suspending payments into two government pension funds in the short-term. he said he will use public servant pension money to compensate for the shortage until august 2. he warned congress that failure to raise the debt limit could bring catastrophic economic consequences. the republicans controlling the house of representatives say they will not agree to raise the ceiling unless the obama administration agrees to reduce the deficit via spending cuts. experts are concerned that confidence in u.s. government bonds may decline if the democrats and republicans cannot reach an agreement. moody's investors service has cut tepco's credit rating by two notches, citing uncertainty over the burden of compensating people affected by the utility's disaster stricken fukushima daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern japan.
the ratings agency says that the damage at the tepco plant was worse than previously thought. and it also says that the government framework to help with the compensation does not clearly show support for the utility. moody's says that tokyo electric's long-term rating has been downgraded from baa 1 to baa 3. it says it will be reviewed for further possible downgrades. any more downgrades would lower tepco to junk status, which is considered a rating below investment grade. standard & poor's also cut the rating from bbb plus to bbb on friday. a top japanese banking official has criticized a request by chief cabinet secretary that creditors of the troubled tokyo electric power company waive their loans. last friday, he urged lenders to forgive their loans before the government injects public funds to help compensate people affected by the nuclear accident in fukushima.
the suggestion was criticized on monday. the bank chief indicated his group has no intention of waiving tepco's debt for the time being, and that it plans to negotiate with the utility over a rehabilitation plan. tokyo stocks extended their losses on tuesday morning. the nikkei ended the morning session at 9,516, down 42 points from monday's close. the key index opened lower following an overnight decline in new york.
weakness in commodities also weighed down on market sentiment. turns to currencies, the dollar was the changed against the yen on tuesday morning. the greenback is now at the upper 80 yen levels. investors remained on the sidelines ahead of the release of the latest data on u.s. housing starts and other key economic indicators. and now a look at the latest long-term interest rates. the yield on the benchmark 10-year japanese government bond is up half a basis point. in other asian markets, we are seeing losses across the board. hong kong leading the way with a 0.6% loss this tuesday morning. more countries have been voicing concerns over possible radiation contamination of japanese farming and industrial products since the accident at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant. some firms in japan are at a loss on how to cope with their clients abroad.
>> reporter: this village is 80 kilometers away from the power plant. one firm here has been reprocessing used plastic into raw material for 35 years. >> translator: these have all been sent back to us by our middleman. >> reporter: that happened in mid april. the recycled plastic was the firm's first export to be delayed because of the accident. the 12 tons of plastic that it planned to export to china is worth about $5,000. the shipment was cancelled because radiation levels exceeded those set by the client. the company was then forced to halt all of its planned exports, resulting in a drop in sales of 30%. to resume exports, the film asked an organization under the prefectureal government to measure radiation levels of its product.
but documents show only radiation level readings. they do not go into detail about what the readings mean, nor do they indicate which figures are within a safe range. >> translator: to tell you the truth, i don't understand what these figures mean. i myself oversaw the measurements and carefully looked at the results. but these readings are impossible to figure out. no matter how hard i try. >> reporter: unlike farm produce, japan has not set any safety standards for radiation levels of industrial products. >> translator: japan has no guidelines to determine whether readings of each product are at a safe level. this makes it hard for firms to decide how to verify product safety. >> reporter: as japanese businesses rebuild and deal with the affects of the disaster, they also face the daunting task of meeting different safety standards set by other countries.
now let's get your recap of the latest market figures. and that's all for now in business news. back to catherine. thank you, ai. the world health organization's director general has called for international support for japan after the march 11 disaster and the related accident at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant.
margaret chan gave the opening address at the ww.h.o.'s opening meeting on monday, speaking to the 193 delegates. japanese health officials are expected to inform participants of measures taken by the government to safeguard of health of residents near the damaged plant. the delegation is also expected s measures to ensure the safety of food and drinking water. among other issues on the agenda for the general assembly is how member countries should cooperate to prevent a pandemic of a new type of influenza. the meeting will end on tuesday next week. the chief of the international monetary fund will remain in jail in the u.s. without bail. dominique strauss-kahn was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a maid who's in her 30s at a luxury manhattan hotel on sunday.
the top imf executive appeared in court in new york on monday afternoon. strauss-kahn pleaded not guilty to the charges and requested bail. but the prosecutor said new york authorities are investigating another case involving similar alleged conduct. he also said that if strauss-kahn went back to france, there would be no legal mechanism to guarantee his return to the united states. the judge accepted the prosecutor's argument, and denied bail for the 62-year-old imf managing director. >> we are obviously disappointed by the court's decision. we believe and we'll prove that in our judgment that mr. strauss-kahn is innocent of these charges. >> the next hearing will be on may 20. the prosecutor for the international criminal court is seeking an arrest warrant for libyan leader moammar gadhafi and two other executives on charges of crimes against humanity.
>> the prosecution has applied for the issuance of warrants against moammar gadhafi. the request was made to the hague-based court on monday. he asked that gadhafi, his second son and the chief of the intelligence service be indicted. they are accused of organized killings of unarmed civilians in libya during the recent uprisings. he told reporters his office has evidence that gadhafi ordered the attacks against demonstrators. it would be the second such warrant issued against a head of state following the one for the sudanese president bashir. the stalemate continues between the government and the
opposition there. 14 muslims are suing japanese authorities in connection with a leak of their personal information in police documents. the plaintiffs filed suit with the tokyo district court on monday against the tokyo metropolitan government and the national government. the group is demanding about $.1 million in damages. they say the police gathered information on privacy without their consent and that they have been forced to live in fear since the data was released on the internet. tokyo police acknowledged that some of the 114 conif i deshl -- confidential documents were leaked last october, but the police have yet to determine who leaked the documents. a similar lawsuit was filed against a firm that leaked a book concerning the leaked documents.
russia downplays a visit and says it was not to assert territorial claims. japanese foreign minister launched an official protest against russia on monday. speaking to reporters on monday, he said it was not intended to anger anyone. he said the visit was to help russians living on the islands to feel that they are part of the country, even though they live in the russian far east. he stressed that russia will speed up its plan to develop the islands by 2015. the u.s. space shuttle "endeavour" has been launched and is on its final mission heading to the international space station. >> three, two, one -- zero. and liftoff for the time launch of "endeavour." "endeavour" blasted off from
kennedy space center in florida at 8:56 a.m. local time on monday after undergoing final checkups. it's the second to last flight of the space shuttle program. the spacecraft entered earth's orbit after separating from its fuel tank. the mission commander is mark kelly, husband of arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords who was shot in the head in her home state in october. the u.s. will close down its 30-year spulace shuttle program with the final launch of "atlantis" slated for june. hello and welcome back to your weather update. it's looking mostly dry across china with good spells of sunshine and similar conditions really for the korean peninsula as well. looking cloudy in around beijing today because of that low pressure system coming in from
mongolia. that will be bringing showers later on on wednesday. the southeastern corner still looking showery and unsettled. heavy downpours to come to the southern end of taiwan as well. as for the philippines, continuing with hefty showers here too. indochina, that rain continues to just spread even further looking at some heavy showers as we head into your wednesday. temperatures look like this today. 34 degrees with sunny skies. partly cloudy in hong kong and 26. a couple of showers. and then 29 in beijing. very warm indeed. as for japan, looking very unsettled today. especially for the okinawa islands looking at heavy downpours. but also for central portions of the country, the showers will
really kick up later in the afternoon. watch out for strong thunderstorms as well as gusty weather. for this region, things clearing up in the afternoon. look for brighter weather, warming up to 21 in ofunato today. on and off showers in the morning for sendai, but again here you're looking at much clearer conditions in the afternoon. 20 degrees in onahama with sunny skies in the afternoon. mito cloudy with afternoon showers. wednesday, much drier and brighter conditions generally. now for north america, we've got that widespread precipitation really impacting the western side of continent. a couple of storm systems in play. mostly going to be rain extending from british columbia, canada, all the way down into california. stretching out towards the northern plains as well. but a couple of snowstorms to
watch out for, especially in the southern cascades. also for the sierras. watch out for isolated heavy snow. and over towards the other side, looking at this very slow-moving low pressure system that is set to linger throughout the week. so watch out for drenching downpours, persistent rain especially in and around the northeastern u.s. that is going to be raising flooding risk. elsewhere, looking at dry conditions down in the south. texas and new mexico. and also the weather looking dry and settled, quite calm over the mississippi valley as well, which is good news, but still dealing with major flooding here and the river crest is slowly working its way south and not out of the woods just yet for places like louisiana and mississippi. temperatures will be warm down in the south, 30 degrees in houston. but slightly cool in the northeast. for new york city, 17 degrees or so. 12 degrees for vancouver for your daytime high. here is your extended forecast now.
the lead stories this hour, the operator of the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant will announce on tuesday a revised plan to cool down the reactors one month after the original one. tokyo electric power company says it needs to pour water into the reactors. it had confirmed earlier that the fuel rods have melted and may have burned holes in the number one reactor pressure vessel. radioactive water is likely flowing from the containment vessel into the basement. tepco says it suspects a similar situation is happening in the number two and three reactors.
the firm says it's considering pumping water out of the containment vessels and circulating it back into the reactors after cooling it with heat ex-changers. it's also thinking of taking water from the basements of the reactor buildings and putting it back into the reactors after removing the radioactive substances. tepco is expected to keep to its original schedule of stabilizing the reactors within six to nine months. the japanese government will announce a plan on tuesday to help evacuees from around the troubled fukushima daiichi plant. it will have the first official schedule for assisting evacuees. the government is expected to allow them to re-enter the 20 kilometer exclusion zone to get their cars starting later this month. residents from the extended zone will be asked to complete their evacuation by the end of the month. the government will announce measures to help them with employment and their business operations. it will decide when to lift the evacuation orders once the
nuclear reactors have been stabilized. tepco hopes to do that within nine months. the government has drafted a bill to assist tepco with the compensation package. the utility has agreed to make provisional payouts while the bill passes through the diet. the operator of the fukushima plant has admitted that the reactor's backup cooling systems failed to function after the march 11 earthquake and tsunami struck. tepco revealed the plant's operation records on monday for the period following the disaster. the emergency backup systems were supposed to cool down the reactors when all external power failed. the one at the number one reactor worked for less than 10 minutes and did not function for three hours. the utility suspects that worker has manually shut down the system as pressure in the reactor dropped so low they were afraid of damage. another backup system at the number one and two reactors lost
power when the tsunami engulfed the batteries. tepco is still analyzing the data to assess the impact of the failure on the fuel rods. one of the biggest issues is where to store the large amount of radioactive water from the troubled nuclear plant. a giant storage barge to hold the water has arrived at a port near the plant. the megafloat, 136 meters long and 36 meters wide, can store up to 10,000 tons of water. the floating structure entered the onahama port south of the nuclear plant on tuesday morning. after some final checks, it will be moved to a site off the coast of the stricken nuclear plant. that's all for this edition of