russia joins the wto. foreign companies line up to get a piece of one of the world's biggest economies. the world trade organization has admitted a new member. russia will commit to play by the same rules as the more than 150 other countries in the group. it will lower trade barriers, making it more attractive to foreign investors. the russian economy had been the biggest outside the wto. members of the organization agreed last december to make russia a member. >> the ministry confirms, so
agrees. >> trade officials will cut imports from 10% to 7% within seven years. exports of oil and natural gas have helped propel the economy. but government leaders want to reduce the dependence on natural resources. and they hope to revitalize the manufacturing center with foreign investment. they'll have to address a range of issues including complicated customs regulations and widespread corruption. russia applied for wto membership in 1993. protective policies in the energy and agricultural sectors were among the factors that prolonged its entry. executives in japan hope russia's membership will provide them with some new business opportunities. they hope to boost car exports and investments. automobiles account for about 60% of japanese exports to russia. but the russian government raised tariffs on imported vehicles three years ago when car exports dropped because of the global financial crisis.
now government officials promise they'll lower import duties on used cars from 35% to 20% by 2019. they say they'll cut tariffs on new passenger cars immediately from 30% to 25% and they'll cut further to 15% in the next seven years. government officials say they'll ease restrictions on foreign companies' stakes in russian firms but a japanese expert fears russian officials might not honor their obl guyss. >> if russia breaks the promise, japan and other wto members need to urge it to keep its pledge to lower import tariffs. >> he says russian officials could change course if state revenues fall or if membership in the wto hurts domestic industries.
it seems japanese supporters could use some help. what is the latest? it seems that exporters here need some help. >> yes, trade data for july has just been out and it gives us a glimpse of how they're performing. we're hearing japan's trade balance fell in july and it turned to the red for the first time in two months due to a decline in exports of electronic parts and an increase in liquified natural gas for a parent generation. finance ministry officials say in the preliminary report on wednesday that japan's trade deficit last month was about $6.5 billion. exports fell 8.1% from a year earlier in yen terms to a little over $67 billion. imports were up 2.1% to about $74 billion. now let's bring you a check on the markets. u.s. stock prices ended lower for a second day in a row following a drop in telecom and high tech shares. apple in particular lost ground
after big gains on monday. well, to see how stocks are performing here in tokyo we go to the tokyo stock exchange. it looks like markets in the u.s. are just taking a step back after recent gains. >> very good morning to you. we have existing home sales and fomc meetings due out later today in the u.s. and those two factors may have been a reason we saw the u.s. markets just fall back a little bit. investors staying on the sidelines just a touch. of course as you mentioned there apple shares just falling back a touch following the gains that it made the previous day and apple is such a heavily weighted component of the nasdaq it always has an effect whether up or down. let's see how it all plays into the opening levels here for this wednesday in tokyo. just having a look at the nikkei and topix both indexes barely in the positive 9,# 157 for the nikkei and 765 for the topix. the nikkei actually snapped three days of gains yesterday. a little profit taking we saw in key exporters after we saw the
yen gain just a touch yesterday. we'll see how it's faring later on. however, because of apples pending release of the new product lines we have been tracking a lot of components and parts makers here in japan such as the company which makes parts for the power supply circuits of the iphone and also foster electric which is a specialist maker of speaker parts for the ear phone. now, among others we'll also focus on mirata manufacturing, toshikazu, as well as tdk. >> and we've been tracking the euro this week in light of key meetings of eu leaders. where do we stand right now on the euro? >> euro of course is a big mover of the currency markets and very closely watched here in relation to the yen. let's have a look at the currency levels of course top of the screen there. dollar/yen $79.18 to 23. the dollar lost a little ground against the euro but stands relatively unchanged against the yen. currently as we can see 79.18 to
23. 20 to 24 actually. it may reveal a softer approach by fed officials when we see the fomc meetings in which case we may see a weaker dollar later on. euro/yen 98.76 to 81. the euro got a bit of a boost tuesday european trading largely on the back of hopes the european central bank as well as eu leaders agree to put in place some kind of plan to deal with the eurozone debt problems and of course the future course of the euro. so a lot of focus there. it could be a big market driving force later in the week. in light of the weak economic data or light economic data this week i should say. back to you. >> thank you. well the people at elpida memory are trying to ensure survival of operations. the japanese ship maker has submitted a restructuring plan in tokyo. the firm is under bankruptcy
protection. elpida received help from the government but failed to recover. executives agreed last month to accept a buyout from u.s. rival micron technology. micron will provide about $2.5 billion over the next seven years. managers will spend more than $800 million purchasing the latest equipment for elpida's factories and they'll ensure workers keep their jobs. but some bond holders claim micron offered too little for elpida. they've submitted a counterproposal and want another corporate partner to step in. that's all for me in biz. i'll leave you with the latest on markets.
government and opposition troops in syria are building up their forces in the northern city of aleppo. residents fear they'll soon be caught in between. government voices are trying to flush the rebels out of their positions. human rights activists based in the uk say government fighter jets have not let up in their attacks. they say 14 people were killed on tuesday including women and children. an opposition member in damascus told nhk that government troops are redeploying tanks, artillery, and ammunition from the capital to aleppo. opposition forces are trying to stop them with guerrilla attacks. the rebels are recruiting young people from areas around aleppo
to join them in their fight. ethiopia's long-time ruler has died of an undisclosed illness. he was 57. observers are watching for any signs of instability in ethiopia since the prime minister's death whose rule lasted more than two decades. ethiopia's state-run television has reported that he died monday at a hospital in belgium. it says the prime minister had been there for about two months for medical treatment. the name of his illness has not been disclosed. he became president in 1991 after his guerrilla group ousted the communist government which ruled the country for 14 years. in 1995 melles became prime minister and consolidated power in the country. during his rule he brought economic growth to the east african country by inviting foreign investment. he was a major u.s. counterterrorism ally.
his government has been criticized for cracking down on the media and its treatment of opposition parties. the prime minister is expected to serve as acting prime minister. preparations are under way for the first u.s./japan joint landing military exercise. it's a simulation between the japan ground self-defense force and american marines. the drill will assume that japan's remote islands are under attack. >> the air force personnel boarded two u.s. navy vessels at the u.s. white beach in okinawa. the navy will use this
amphibious assault ship and a landing ship. vehicles and containers were loaded on to the decks. a hovercraft was loaded into the deck. members of japan's forces have been training with marines based in california but this is the first time they'll take part in landing drills with those based in okinawa. u.s. military and sds personnel are scheduled to depart in a few days for tinian and guam island located in the western pacific. the drill will employ marine vessels and helicopters. this is viewed as a demonstration of bilateral cooperation at a time when china is increasing its presence in the asia pacific region. japan and the united states want
to stage this first joint landing drill so japan can learn from the u.s. how to keep up the defense of its southwestern islands. for its part the u.s. wants to secure the japanese cooperation in stressing guam's strategic importance if it faces cuts in its defense budget. nhk world, okinawa. north korea has denounced an ongoing u.s./south korean joint military exercise. the north warned the two countries by saying its military is prepared to physically counteract if needed. the annual computer-assisted drill started on monday and will continue for two weeks. it's based on a scenario involving an attack on south korea by the north.
>> north korea's state run tv made the announcement issued by its country's military but it did not clarify what use of force and physical counteraction exactly means. last friday north korean leader kim jong un visited a military unit that shelled the south korean island of yong pong in 2010. the north is apparently trying to raise troops' morale while keeping pressure on the united states and south korea. u.s. officials have launched a project in vietnam to clean up lingering deposits of agent orange. u.s. forces sprayed the toxic chemical during the war there to clear forests that provided cover for north vietnamese fighters. 37 years after hostilities
ended, many civilians still suffer from severe health problems. >> reporter: a ceremony was held earlier this month in central vietnam to mark the start of the cleanup operations. >> this morning we celebrate a milestone in our bilateral relationship. the u.s. and vietnam are moving earth right here and taking the first steps to bury the legacies of our past. >> reporter: this was the center of the u.s. largest air base during the war. fighter jets took off from here to spray agent orange over jungles and forests. the airport was also used to store the chemical, which permeated the ground, making it highly toxic. until recently the vietnamese government lacked the funds and technology needed for proper cleanup. instead it simply laid concrete
over contaminated soil. the united states is paying for the decontamination project at the cost of $43 million over four years. work has begun on a parcel which is just a fraction of the land in vietnam which needs to be cleaned. in the meantime, it continues to affect generations of vietnamese. an organization says at least 5,000 people in this area alone suffer symptoms linked to the defoliant. many of the victims were born after the end of the war. >> translator: after those 5,000 victims, 1400 are under the age of 16. they are the second or third generation of sufferers. >> reporter: this family moved here 16 years ago. their son was born in 2008 with
swollen bowels, a congenital disease linked to agent orange. the condition also affects his development. at the age of 4 he is still unable to speak more than a few basic words. his father works at the airport. he says his employers never told him the soil was contaminated. >> translator: i first heard it four or five years ago. i wish we'd been warned earlier. >> reporter: the couple's daughter was born before the family moved to the area. she is in perfectly good health. he can't hide his anger at the united states. >> translator: i can't understand why the u.s. doesn't officially recognize the health impact of agent orange. this isn't just about our son. the project is better than nothing but it's already caused
so many victims in vietnam. i want the united states to clean up all the contaminated land. >> it's almost four decades since the vietnam war ended fwhu famili but this family and many others have mixed feelings about the decontamination project that has finally begun. nhk world, vietnam. people in japan's northeast are focused on overcoming the challenges of the 2011 disaster but it won't be easy. they have to rebuild homes, businesses, entire communities. we'll show you their struggles and their successes on the road ahead every wednesday at 1:00 p.m. japan time here on "newsline." radioactive cesium well above the government's safety level has been found in a fish off fukushima prefecture.
the tokyo electric power company says it detected the cesium in a rock trout caught earlier this month one kilometer off the coast. at 380 times the safety limit it is the highest level of radiation detected so far. the utility has been measuring radiation exposure in fish and shell fish caught within 20 kilometers of the fukushima daiichi plant since march. fishing is basically banned off the shores of the prefecture. 20 kinds of fish and shell fish were caught at five locations from mid july to early august. the company says it found radioactive cesium exceeding the safety limit in nine kinds of fish and shell fish. tokyo electric says it will survey the same area from next week until the end of september. they'll study the trout as well as their prey, including shrimp. a team of nuclear energy experts in japan is set to launch their own investigation of last year's accident at the fukushima daiichi plant. the atomic energy society of
japan set up a committee of 40 specialists from universities and research institutes across the country. the panel's mandate is to pinpoint why the accident happened. officials from the government and tokyo electric power company will be interviewed as part of the investigation. committee members say they will issue a report by december 2013. >> we will also re-evaluate the atomic energy society itself and figure out why it failed to prevent the accident. we will reform it if necessary. >> but the new team is coming up against some criticism. its experts are all from the same society and their first meeting was held behind closed doors. panels set up by the diet and the government have already released reports but many questions remain unanswered. transportation officials in many countries are introducing or expanding high speed rail networks. japanese firms are hoping to be
a part of the effort. the people at the central japan railway company have unveiled a new bullet train fitted with state-of-the-art safety features. >> reporter: this is a new model called n 700 a. it was shown to the media at a factory in central japan. it's equipped with improved brakes that can help it stop faster in emergencies, including a major earthquake. the train's maximum speed is 270 kilometers per hour. a bullet train with the previous brakes would need three or four kilometers to come to a stop from that speed. the new system closes the distance by 10% to 20%. the chassis is also fitted with safety equipment.
sensors can quickly identify problems in wheels and axles. the train can even compensate for scheduling delays. it has a device that constantly monitors track conditions to ensure greater speed in curves and on hills. the railway company plans to begin operations next february. >> translator: i believe our methods in technology are the best in the world. there is no question that our bullet trains will be accepted globally. >> the united states, india, and other nations will unveil their plans for high speed railroad networks in the coming years. japanese railway executives say they plan to build a strong safety record for the latest bullet train so this technology
will be found on tracks around the world. a powerful storm continues to make its way to taiwan. rachel ferguson gives us the latest in her world weather forecast. >> all right. now yesterday we were forecasting this was going to become a violent typhoon. the good news is it has actually started to come down a little bit. it's now a strong typhoon, where it was a very strong typhoon yesterday. in other words, a little bit confusing. but basically it is not going to become a violent typhoon. it is, however, remaining a very intense and dangerous system. the wind gusts are at 198 kilometers an hour at the moment. and it is going to maintain strength before making landfall on thursday night in taiwan. so it's starting to come very close to southern japan and we're also seeing those wind gusts and the rain impacting eastern taiwan already. that is just going to intensify
into the next couple of days as the system grows closer. we're also going to be seeing rain of course with this system. anything up to 350 millimeters plus in the next three days. now, hot on its heels we have yet another typhoon. this one is actually intensified very dramatically in the last 24 hours. it may become a very strong typhoon by friday, at which point it will be just coming very close to okinawa. so keeping a close eye on this one as well, we could be dealing with a very serious situation here, a double whammy. one major typhoon after another in the space of just a week impacting much the same area. we're talking about southern japan, taiwan, as well as the southeastern coast of china. all right. let's take a look at what's happening across the rest of eastern asia. heavy rain has been impacting southern china up to 140 millimeters of rain in the last
24 hours. it is going to start to move toward the coast but still staying very soggy for coastal locations. heavy rain moving from north korea into south korea today, been seeing heavy rain here over the last several weeks, which has led to widespread flooding. we're also going to be seeing things looking very unstable for western japan under the influence of this storm. we're going to be seeing some thunderstorms and very quickly changeable weather. the rest of the country stays hot and humid. tokyo getting up to 34 degrees. even temperatures up toward the north in and around the mid to upper 30s. all right. let's take a look at our other tropical system, tropical storm isaac just heading into the western caribbean at the moment. it is actually going to be impacting many of the caribbean islands. first the central lesser antilles and it heads toward puerto rico and hispaniola, beyond that heading in toward cuba toward saturday, sunday time. at the moment 72 kilometer an
hour wind gusts with this system. we're going to be seeing some heavy rain with it as well. in the next 48 hours about 150 millimeters plus is not out of the question and of course as the system intensifies, which it is expected to do, we're likely to see by thursday a hurricane here. that rain will also be intensifying. all right. as for the southeastern corner of the u.s. more heavy rain here. it's been very gusty across much of florida and we're also seeing some heavy rain and thunderstorms in the southwest. southern california, nevada, arizona, dealing with heavy rain and thunderstorms. even the report of a tornado touching down in the u.s. i should say the nevada/utah border. let's go down to europe. i want to show you what the temperatures are doing. the heat wave isn't really budging. 36 in budapest. 37 in rome. 39 for you in madrid. looking very seasonable in central and northern locations. here's your extended forecast.