glad to have you with us on this edition of "newsline." it's 9:00 a.m. in tokyo. i'm catherine kobayashi. in the united states, a debt limit deal has been approved and signed into law. we go straight to ai uchie da with business news this hour. >> very good morning. the u.s. senate has approved a bill that allows the government to raise its debt ceiling. president barack obama has signed the bill into lawng a de debt obligations, just hours before the deadline of midnight on tuesday. >> congress has now approved a compromise to reduce the deficit and avert a default that would have devastated our economy.
and since you can't close the deficit with just spending cuts, we'll need a balanced approach where everything's on the table. >> the bill cleared the senate on tuesday with 74 votes in favor and 26 against. the house passed the measure the previous day. the bill calls for $917 billion in spending cuts over the next ten years, a bipartisan committee will be set up to consider ways to achieve an additional cut of $1.5 trillion. in return, the bill allows the government to raise the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion. that amount is enough to get the government through the 2012 presidential race without additional funding. the spending reduction was much less than obama's original target of $4 trillion. obama described the measure as a first step. he called for other avenues to reduce the deficit, including ending tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations.
the political gridlock surrounding the debt ceiling deeply undermined the credibility of the world's largest economy. and despite the passage of the debt ceiling bill in the u.s., the dollar continues to remain weak against the dollar -- against the yen. the yen's continued strength has japanese monetary authorities keeping a close watch over currency moves with a view to intervene in the market if necessary. the dollar is hovering in the lower 77 range in tokyo this wednesday morning after dipping to 76.97 yen at one point overnight in new york. right now the currency the yen is at 77.25 to 30 per dollar. dollar selling briefly accelerated on worries of a possible downgrade of america's sovereign debt and worse than expected u.s. consumer data. the yen's strength is putting a worse strain on japan's manufacturing sector. manufacturers are calling on the
bank and the government to take mesh urtake measures. >> translator: is there anyone to take action on this situation? >> translator: we had to make a downward revision because of the situation. >> additional credit easing measures will be high on the agenda at the bank's central policy meeting starting thursday. yoshihiko noda commented on current currency moves. >> translator: we'll continue to watch the markets closely to see how they react to recent developments in the u.s. >> noda refused to comment on a possible market intervention to stem the yen's strength. meanwhile new york stocks plunged over 2% on tuesday as investors sold a wide range of shares on concerns the u.s. economy may be losing steam fast. the dow jones industrial average ended the day at 11,866, that is
down over 260 points, a loss of 2.2%. the drop extended the index's losing streak for an eighth trading day. market players say a series of downbeat u.s. economic data, including sluggish consumer figures are fueling concerns the nation's economy may be slowing down faster than forecast. now let's get a check on how stocks here in japan are doing this morning. we cross over to ramin mellegard who is at the tokyo stock exchange. ramin, good morning. how are japanese markets reacting to the u.s. debt deal going through congress on tuesday? >> good morning to you, ai. the nikkei and the to pix both trading in the negative, in fact the nikkei down by just over 100 points following on from losses that we saw in the dow, as you mentioned there the dow was down for an eighth straight trading session in a row, and that's the longest losing streak actually that we've seen on the dow since october 2008, after the lehman crisis so neglective open here,
now basically a deal may have gone through congress to avert a default, but markets still pretty jittery rarding fundamentals both for japan's economy as well as the u.s. economy, you mentioned there consumer sentiment and also a lot of eyes are going to be on the u.s. jobs number, which is coming up on friday, and that follows faltering data we already have seen on housing and manufacturing side in the u.s. also moodies investor services came out and made a statement saying that it still has a negative outlook for the credit rating of u.s. however, it said that because of the debt deal that just got pushed through congress, it says that that virtually eliminated any risk of a downgrade and it's keeping its aaa rating now for the u.s. events in the last 24 hours in the currency markets have been pretty volatile, with the euro also being pushed lower because of renewed concerns about euro zone sovereign debt. that's coming back into the picture yet again and that pushed the euro down to around
109 against the yen and the dollar/yen still sticking to that 77 level, very strong yen there, and that's been hurting exporters and as we've been mentioning the strong yen has been hurting earnings numbers that have been released in japan and toyota was no exception, came out and showed a net profit loss for the last quarter, however it did raise its outlook for the whole fiscal year ending march 2012 and it says production in north america should be back to normal in september. so all the auto manufacturers both in the u.s. and japan have not come out with earnings and despite a faster pace of a recovery for japanese automakers, they're still going to be playing a little bit of catch-up to its peers in the u.s. but for now the nikkei down over 100 points. back to you. >> thanks a lot, ramin. that was our market reporter ramin mellegard at the tokyo stock exchange. let's get a look at some other market figures now.
that's all for now in business news. back to catherine. >> thanks very much, ai. heir she ma university is to launch a study focusing on the health impact of exposure to low level radiation. the university has been providing medical care to atomic bomb survivors. the university set up a committee on tuesday to use its knowledge to help people affected by the fukushima nuclear accident. one of the main themes is the analysis of the impact of low
level radiation exposure on human genes. the university says that when cumulative exposure reaches 100 millisieverts, the chances of developing cancer are said to rise by 0.5%. it said there is not enough data anywhere in the world about exposure to radiation below that level. >> translator: uncertainty about exposure to low-level radiation makes people uneasy. we hope to give them more dependable information by researching this issue. concerns are growing in japan about beef contaminated with radiation. the government has ordered tochigi prefecture because of fears over the health threat. this is the fourth prefecture to face this restriction. the government ordered the suspension tuesday after beef
from four cat until tochigi was found to contain unsafe levels of radioactive cesium. cesium was also detected in rice straw used to feed the beef cattle in the prefectures. farmers in the prefectures are also being told to hold shipments of the suspect herds. the government said it will allow the transz transport of the animals to resume once radiation levels in beef fall below its safety standards. one prefecture says it will test meat from all of its beef cattle, but the prefecture ships more than 55,000 of these cattle per year and fewer than 30,000 can be processed locally. the government is expected to ask the prefecture to draw up a realistic plan for the resumption of shipments, such as putting a limit on the number of cattle transported. the japanese government is going to start streamlining the monitoring of the radiation levels across the country. so far, various organizations have been conducting their own checks since the march 11 accident at the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant.
the new plan came out tuesday in response to criticism that interpreting results collected by the central government, local municipalities and utilities is confusing. radiation monitoring will be divided into six categories, air, water, farm, soil, grass, trees and food. each organization will be given a specific area to monitor and analyze. they must propose concrete measures on how they'll carry out the work. the government planned to set up about 250 monitoring points across the country. one of its goals is to draw up maps showing radiation levels at schools and public libraries by mid august. this week, "newsline" will bring you heir she ma nagasaki 66 years on, a series of features commemorating the 1945 atomic bombings of these japanese cities.
petition ceremonies are held every year in heir she ma august 6th and nagasaki august 9th, to coincide with the exact moments the bombs fell. this year the anniversaries have special significance because many people are worried about the radiation leaking from the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant. nhk world's chie yam gukie met an atomic survivor helping people in fukushima by sharing his experiences. >> reporter: kunishi sakishima was 9 months old when the bomb was dropped on heir she ma. he was exposed to the radioactive fallout known as black rain. when he was in elementary school, he often fell ill and had to stay home. >> translator: i had kidney trouble in fourth grade and
liver trouble in fifth grade. >> reporter: his poor health meant he couldn't eat certain foods, but he gradually got stronger and healthier, thanks to his mother's care. for the past six years he's been volunteering as an adviser and coordinator for other a-bomb survivors. this april he was contacted by a young mother. smiwa watanabe had fled with her baby son. she was worried of the fact of radiation on her child. she was worried about the radiation of the effect on her child.
>> translator: the situation must have been similar back then. mothers are trying to protect their children today. i imagine my mother did the same. >> translator: talking with you has been very encouraging. people in fukushima are worn out from worrying about the radiation, so i want them to have some encouragement too. >> reporter: sakuma wants to encourage worn out parents in heir she ma so he and two other people from heir she ma traveled up to speak to them. >> translator: we can't believe anything the government says about safety. >> reporter: sakuma gave advice in light of his experience. >> translator: you should keep records of where you go and what you do each day. if special allowances are given here, as they were in hiroshima, you'll need your records. [ applause ]
>> translator: it's good to have someone who knows what it's like to be exposed to radiation come here from outside fukushima. there's a feeling of connectedness that we don't get with other outside help. >> reporter: sakuma said he's glad his experience 66 years ago is helping people in fukushima today. >> translator: i can feel how much they care about their children. i think we can keep on working together. >> earlier michio kijima spoke with miho fukunaga also covering the accident. >> miho, tell us about the difference between the risks faced by a-bomb survivors and people in fukushima. >> yes the people were exposed
to extremely high levels of radiation as a result of the atomic bombings. it happened within seconds. the concern in fukushima has been about the long-term risks of exposure because radioactive materials continue to leak from the nuclear plant. many a-bomb victims died as a result of high-level acute radiation exposure. among those who survived, the effects continue to this day. one day after the accident at fukushima daiichi, the japanese government instructed people to evacuate from areas within a 20-kilometer radius of the plant. >> how, how did those measures protect people from radiation exposure? >> the national government at fukushima prefecture say they have confirmed no cases to date of people exposed to levels of radiation that would immediately affect their health, but experts continue to argue about the safety of low-level contamination.
so deep-seated concerns remain, especially among parents, because children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of radiation. >> now in the report, the a-bomb survivor sakuma told people in fukushima that they should keep detailed records on their activities and movements since the march 11th disaster. how important is that? >> well, the records will be very useful when these people go for medical checkups. sakuma says they should include details about how much time they spent at particular locations and how long they spent indoors. the information will be used to estimate the amount of radiation they were exposed to. doctors and other experts who have researched and treated survivors in hiroshima and nagasaki are also giving similar advice to people in fukushima. >> nhk word's miho fukunaga reporting for us tonight. miho, thanks. a record number of japanese households were living on welfare benefits in april,
reflecting the severe employment situation. the welfare ministry says about 1.46 million households were receiving assistance in april. the new record figure was up about 3,600 from the previous month. the number of individuals on welfare in april was a little over 2.02 million and remained above 2 million for the second month in a row. the ministry says the rising trend may continue as many people are applying for benefits in areas affected by the march 11th earthquake and tsunami. "newsline" is the place to turn to for the latest on japan post-march 11th. we have two segments offering two unique perspectives on the fallout from the earthquake and tsunami. "nuclear watch" brings you insight and information on the impact of the fukushima daiichi crisis, and "the road ahead" examines japan's efforts to recover and rebuild. don't miss "nuclear watch" and "the road ahead" on "newsline."
the death toll from syria's crackdown on anti-government protests continues to climb. a human rights group in the country says 160 people have been killed since sunday. in the city of hama tuesday at least five people died when they set fire on protests at a funeral by government forces. president bashar al assad deployed security forces around the nation before the start of the holy month of ramadan month. the government is trying to halt the escalation of protests for ramadan when muslims gather for prayers. the european union imposed further sanctions against syrian. aly habib mahmoud and four others were hit with economic sanctions that brings the total number of people to 35, including president bashar al assad. the eu warns it willsanctions i government fails to stop the
violation. italy has recalled its ambassador to syria in protest. the italian government urged other european nations to follow suit. high speed trains in china are suffering substantial delays on the line where a fatal collision occurred last month. a shanghai newspaper and other sources report that more than ten trains were up to three and a half hours behind schedule on monday. nhk has confirmed that wenzhou station, near the site of the accident, 14 trains had been taken out of service on tuesday. about two-thirds of those in operation were running late. there has been no official explanation for the delays. but a shanghai based tv station and other media have cited sources within the railway authority as saying the disruptions are due to continuing equipment inspections. passengers at wenzhou south station say they are worried about the safety of the high
speed railway system but they need to use the line. they express frustration that authorities have done nothing to ease their concerns. time to check on some of the stories we've gathered by broadcasters around asia. we begin with this item sent by rtm malaysia. the malaysian government began a comprehensive program on monday to register the approximately 2 million illegal workers in the country. about 330 private firms have been engaged to register the illegal workers over the next two weeks. the aim is to improve national security and halt human trafficking. registered workers will be allowed to continue working, but those who do not register may face deportation. malaysia is heavily dependent on foreign workers, especially in its agriculture and construction sectors. the ninth south china sea fishing festival opened on monday with a ceremony on heiling island in china's guangdong province. the festivities began with more than 10,000 fishing vessels
participating in a sailing ceremony. other highlights included the release of fry into the sea and the performance of local marriage customs. in the so-called dan family wedding ceremony, the groom wears a black wedding suit, an ethnic hat and a red flowered sash. the bride wears a glittering wedding dress and wraps her head in red scarves. and welcome back to your weather update. we're looking at that storm system we have been monitoring. and here it is. you're seeing a clearly formed eye now. it's still maintaining that strength as it is still a very strong typhoon, packing winds well over 160 kilometers per hour, still moving at a fairly slow place. gradually veering towards the northwest. looks like it will move through the okinawa islands within the next couple of days and then start aiming for more northerly areas and possibly the central coast of china into northern areas. possibly the yellow sea.
we'll keep a close eye on its progress, but for now we're concerned about the high waves starting to impact this area on the pacific side. then it will start bringing those heavy rains and the strong winds to the islands as early as tonight. it will intensify through thursday and even friday. so very stormy the next couple days in store for those of you here. ahead of that, looking at showers lingering here up in central china and the korean peninsula. that is slowly easing especially for eastern china. it should head out later on tonight. but then more rain starts developing out towards the southwest and will intensify. especially across sichuan province. that could trigger flooding as well as landslides. that's going to be a new area of concern. now, for japan unsettled weather will once again continue today. we've got a lot of humid air coming in from the storm system already. so a change of weather. a scattering of showers and thunderstorms and downpours definitely across the country.
highs for tokyo today coming in at 29. it's been a week of below 30s. comfortable weather. but in the south of japan, temperatures are starting to rise. so you do want to take care against heatstroke. now over towards the caribbean islands, we're still talking about a lot of tropical activity here as well. we've got clouds gathering here. this will be tropical storm emily. not too well organized so far. that is good but still packing winds up to 85 kilometers per hour. and now approaching hispaniola, likely making landfall here later wednesday, then for the southeast bahamas by thursday. already warnings have been issued. winds, rain, and high waves are elements to be on the watch for. over the next few days, and then we could see the storm system continue to head up towards the east coast of the united states. so this is a storm system we want to keep a close eye on as we head even into next week. as i said, plenty of showers. we're going to talk about 150 to 250 millimeters possible with this storm system. flooding, landslides big
concerns across these islands. now towards europe. a lot of activity starting to gather towards the west. we've got this low that's going to be moving through france tonight. that will mean drier conditions for the iberian peninsula. and showers for the west of europe as well as spreading into central sections. along the alpine region, threat of thundershowers with the daytime heat. and the british isles too, another round of showers will be heading in wednesday. so it will look a lot wetter, coming in from the west. as for those temperatures, 28 in london. 27 in paris. getting warm here. 27 also in vienna but cooling off in the east. we've got only 20 degrees for moscow all right. that's a look at your weather for now. here is your three-day outlook.
i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. thanks very much for joining us. we leave you with footage of one of japan's best known summer events. the aomori nebuta festival. the annual event kicked off on tuesday in the disaster-hit tohoku region. ♪ nebuta giant lantern lit floats deck indicated the heroes and ancient warriors are paraded through the main streets of
aomori streets in northern tohoku. some of this year's floats are designed to encourage the rebuilding efforts. they include mow mow ta rue, a boy from a traditional folk tale who defeats devils. the event organizer says about 390,000 people, 10,000 more than last year watched the parade on tuesday. ♪ the festival will continue through sunday. ♪ 1