"newsline." i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. u.s. and russian officials prepare to discuss a proposal that puts syria's chemical weapons under international control. the man who directed cleanup operations at three mile island after its nuclear disaster says the problems at fukushima daiichi are far worse. and managers of japanese
companies are trying to give their staff a competitive edge by sending them abroad. the u.s. secretary of state and his russian counterpart are to discuss a plan for syrian forces to give up their chemical weapons. john kerry and russian foreign minister sergey lavrov will try to agree on the details of the russian plan. kerry and lavrov are beginning a two-day meeting in geneva. chemical weapons experts from both countries will also attend. a diplomatic source said moscow submitted details of the plans to washington. the report says there are four stages to the plan. it would start with syria joining the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons. syria would then declare the location of the chemical weapons and the places where they're made. the third step would allowing inspectors into the country. the final step would be deciding how to destroy the arms. >> our goal here is to test the seriousness of this proposal, to
fau talk about the specifics about what are the mechanics of identifying, identifying, securing and ultimately destroying the chemical weapons. >> delegates from the five permanent members of the u.n. security council met on wednesday, reportedly to discuss a draft resolution put forward by france which would require syria to fulfill its obligations or face military action. the central intelligence agency has begun sending weapons to fighters in syria. the "washington post" posted on its website wednesday that the shipment of light weapons and other munitions began streaming into syria two weeks ago. they said the weapons are being delivered along with communications equipment and medical supplies and they flow through u.s. bases in turkey and jordan. they promised lethal insistence to the fighters back in june. but it reportedly dragged its feet out of fear that any aid
could wind up in the hands with units with links to north carolina. a north korean nuclear reactor shut down for years may be back up and running. the researchers say the facility is capable of generating weapons grade plutonium. researchers at johns hopkins university analyzed a satellite image taken last month that shows the reactor north of pyongyang generating power. the image shows steam rising from a building believed to house turbines. the researchers say the color and amount of steam suggests the reactor is working. north korean officials blew up the reactor five years ago as part of international negotiations over their nuclear program. but in april they announced plans to restart the facility. a spokesperson for the u.s. state department said the nuclear program remains a matter of serious concern.
a u.s. nuclear expert has visited the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant. lake barrett spent four years directing cleanup operations after the nuclear disaster on three mile island in 1979. he said the problems at fukushima daiichi are far more complex. barrett was invited by tokyo electric power company to tour the stricken plant. he inspected the storage tank from which about 300 tons of contaminated water leaked last month. he was also shown a construction site for barriers to prevent radioactive water from seeping into the ocean. barrett said tepco's risk management of the radioactive water was lax and it should have designed higher barriers around the storage tanks to contain any leaks. barrett also met tepco's president. he says the problems at
fukushima daiichi are further complicated because of the involvement of groundwater. >> the challenge is huge. it makes three mile island look very simple. what you have is much more complex, much more challenging. >> on friday, barrett is expected to meet tepco officials at the company's headquarters to give advice on how to manage the radioactive water. tepco has released information that indicates problems at fukushima daiichi may be getting worse. water taken from a monitoring well near the faulty storage tank has shown higher levels of radioactivity. workers suspect radioactive water that escaped from the tanks seeped into the soil. the plant's managers have assigned more monitors to detect radioactive materials in the groundwater near it. they said one of the wells rose on tuesday to 64,000 becquerels per liter. the well is not on the ocean side of the tank.
the direction in which the groundwater is thought to be flowing. managers say most of the tainted soil around the tank has been removed so they don't know how the water is getting contaminated. tepco is planning to pump up clean groundwater and reroute it into the ocean before it passes through the reactor buildings. but this recent finding may change that plan. before handling of the plant poses a threat to the local residents. the people who lived around the evacuation zone have chosen not to return even though they've been told it's now safe. people can still not live in the areas in red on this map. it's mainly within 20 kilometers of the plant. about 84,000 people were forced to leave those areas after the disaster. advisories were lifted by march last year in the four municipalities shown in yellow. but nhk has found that only 60% of the 60,000 residents have returned so far. >> translator: even though government officials keep saying
our area is safe, there are no reliable criteria. that's why it's so difficult for my neighbors to decide whether they should return to their homes. >> many evacuees say they're worried about radiation that could harm their health and point to the lack of necessary facilities like hospitals and stores. they also need places to work. local leaders say they will urge the central government to swiftly tackle the issue. japanese prime minister shinzo abe is vowing to strengthen his country's defenses. he says he's revamping government policies to cope with the changing regional security environment. abe told top officers of the self-defense forces that japan cannot ignore the provocations that challenge territorial sovereignty. >> translator: we need to revise japan's defense program. we will create a national security council, which is the first step in that direction.
>> abe defined the next step as compiling mid to long-term strategies to enhance the self-defense force's capabilities. he'll have experts study whether the constitution allows japanese forces to intervene in any conflict in which an ally has come under attack. rebels in the philippines continue to hold dozens of civilians hostage. let's get an update from the situation in bangkok. >> thursday was the fourth day of the ongoing standoff on the philippine islands of mindanao. they continued to use hostages as human shields. afp reports that rebels from the morrow national liberation front opened fire on thursday in the
city, as government forces tried to approach. the confrontation began earlier this week, when 118 militants landed on the island. the militants are forming dozens of civilians hostage possibly as many as 118. at least 12 people have died and 30,000 are taking refuge at a stadium. the government president last october reached an agreement with a larger rival militant group known as the morrow islamic liberation front. they pledge to create an autonomous government by 2016. but they opposed the deal. they've killed more than 60,000 people since the 1970s, and forced 2 million from their homes. the island had been left behind as other parts of the fi philippines enjoy robust economic growth. in southern thailand insurgents carried out another deadly attack on thursday. at least ten people have been
killed over the last three days. the rebels are demanding awe i autonomy for the muslim province. internal security operations spokesperson said three soldiers were killed and another was injured. insurgents apparently opened fire as the soldiers were helping villagers repair their homes. a series of assaults which began on tuesday have left at least five soldiers and five police officers dead. the thai government and major islamic militant groups have been talking since march to try to resolve the conflict. despite the recent violence, the national security council says the dialogue will continue in the first half of next month. muslim separatists have been fighting for more than a decade demanding autonomy for three provinces in thailand's extreme south. more than 5,800 have been killed since 2004. farmers normally choose crops that are cheap and
reliable. but some have been pleasantly surprised to discover they're actually growing extremely hot commodities. trends are taking place in the global energy market and 80% of the global supply of gua comes from india. here's the story. >> reporter: this is an auction of cluster beans. gua has been a hot commodity since prices started rising two years ago. the dealers are anxious. >> translator: the price jumped by ten times last year. it was amazing. >> reporter: guar is used to be cheap. it's a valuable source of protein for many indians.
it's also become a source of profit for companies and farmers in recent years. thanks to a unique property. it becomes sticky, then it's mixed with water. and that stickiness has an industrial usage. the process of extracting shale gas is known as fracking. shale gas development is booming in countries such as the united states. fracking in the united states and farming in india have a common connection in guar. shale gas comes from solid rocks deep underground. massive amounts of pressurized water creates cracks in the water, releasing the shale gas.
sand injected with the water prevents the cracks from closing. but there's another ingredient, too. guar is help the grains of sand spread out smoothly. guar brokers have been flooded with orders from the united states. sales last year tripled. >> they will be demanding more and more guar. >> reporter: this is a farmer who has been growing guar for more than ten years. he relies on guar because it was cheap and could survive the dry weather. thanks to the recent boom, his income has risen more than eight times. he was even able to build himself a new house.
>> translator: this room has enough space for three to four beds for when we have guests. and also, my new motorcycle. >> reporter: he also bought another buffalo. something his cat is thankful for. he has two children. when he was young, he had to leave school before junior high. but his children seem likely to have a brighter future. >> translator: good job. keep up the good work. >> translator: if everything goes well, my children's education and employment will be good. i'm beginning to love guar. i didn't care much about it before.
but now i'm obsessed. >> reporter: to indian farmers, shale gas development is somebody else's business in a far-away land. but it's bringing unexpected funds closer to home. nhk world. and that wraps up our bulletin. a senior south korean official said they're looking at the possibility of taking part in the free trade talks under the transpacific partnership. >> translator: we are carefully monitoring the ongoing tpp negotiations. and considering the impact on our national interests, to make a decision whether to join or not.
we would have little chance to take part if talks were wrapped up by the end of this year. >> he added he thinks south korea's participation in the t about, p would not send a negative message to china. south korea is now in talks with china for bilateral free trade agreement. china has announced an action plan to deal with the country's serious air pollution. the goal is to reduce the concentration of contaminants in the air by more than 10% by the year 2017. china's environment ministry said the average concentration of tiny pollutant particles in the first six months of this year was more than seven times the guidelines set by the world health organization. large cities like beijing and shanghai, car ownership will be more tightly regulated and order
factories to reduce the use of coal. the total output of nuclear power plants in china will be raised 3.4 times than it is today by 2017. honda motor has unveiled a new passenger car for the chinese market. they're hoping it will trigger a recovery in the declining sales in china where anti-japan sentiment still lingers. honda automotive's joint venture unveiled the new accord in shanghai. the world's largest auto markets this year are expected to top 20 million units. strong sales by european and u.s. automakers supported the market growth. the japanese automakers are being left behind because of growing strains in diplomatic relations. that's mainly due to a dispute over islands in the east china sea. their sales in china last month fell 9% from a year earlier. more and more managers of
japanese companies are trying to raise the global competitiveness of their staff. many turn to work abroad programs. they send young employees overseas, mostly to emerging economies. in asia, it's a personnel training trend that's catching on. >> reporter: this major education related firm is one example. on this day, it held an online meeting with its staff in jakarta. this woman joined the company nine years ago. she's spending six months with an ngo that runs an english language school in india. at the ngo, her position and her firm's name don't matter. her mission is to brush up leadership skills necessary to get her job done. her employer covers all her expenses. but her contacts are only once a week, leaving her free to set up her own goals.
>> translator: i want to understand students better. >> translator: i hope you will succeed. >> reporter: workers at the firm usually handle only a limited number of jobs. and officials thought a work abroad program would best help them learn the overall business. >> translator: she has to think of everything by herself. set goals and try to achieve them. that's something she would never be able to do back in japan. >> reporter: another firm says the program is proving effective. this major medical equipment maker has adopted the program to develop talents for exploring new markets. overseas sales already account for over 50% of its entire business. >> translator: it's vital for employees to rise up to tough challenges, even take some risks.
>> reporter: this man has been with his firm for four years. he spent two months in indonesia on a work-abroad program. he worked in ngo for hospitals with low-income families. his job was to manage the disposal of spent injection needles. >> translator: the needles had been dumped into plastic bags normally used at home. children could have touched them, and got hurt. >> reporter: to prevent secondary infections, he came up with an idea to put caps on spent needles. this container has a cap made of a spongy material. >> translator: i was, frankly, moved when i saw the container
at the clinic. it was right there. i was happy to find that my idea did help. >> reporter: back in japan, he started going out of his way to look for work. instead of waiting for an assignment. it now creates opportunities to exchange opinions with younger workers. >> translator: we can't get anything done unless we are proactive. i believe that effort will always bring results. >> reporter: japanese firms are training young workers to become strong enough to win in the global field of battle. and the work abroad program might prove to be their reliable ally. here are the latest market figures.
it was a clear day here in tokyo. for more on the weather forecast for here and elsewhere, we go to robert speta. >> here on a thursday across most of japan, we saw some rather decent and fair weather. showers there into hokkaido and northern portions of honshu. that's due to this weak upper-level trough extending back to the west across the korean peninsula. even including shanghai, about 97 millimeters of rainfall in the past 24 hours. so rain is continuing to come down out here. there is a risk of some flooding, but it will persist
throughout the next several days. really across much of this area. also, i want to quickly mention our tropical depression in the northern marian a islands, high waves expected, 2 to 4 meter high waves into friday and saturday. the thing with that storm, it is expected to intensify to a severe tropical storm. and possibly even more so after that. and impact somewhere here along the pacific coast of japan. that impact is quite uncertain at this time, though. it all depends on this jet stream, where exactly it's going to be going, how far it will go down and how much interaction it's going to have with it. it may hook off to the north or stay down to the south. so we want to continue to keep a very close eye on it. this is also creating unstable weather, though, across much of northeastern china, and the far east of russia. you do not need any more rain there. i'll show you this video out of far eastern russia. the heavy rain fell down there, and now the river is about 9 meters higher than it normally is. the water level is expected to
continue to rise. see that truck there, completely submerged in the water. the rising water actually burst through two dams, flooded the city, and nearly 700 homes have been flooded. about 2,700 people have had to be evacuated. more rainfall, it's not needed here across much of this area. also, you'll be seeing cooler temperatures for the people who have been displaced. the cold air mass is sinking in. it will get below freezing here, in mongolia. the overnight lows this into saturday will be minus 6. and the same thing for far eastern parts of russia. in the americas, a disturbance around the yucatan peninsula, that will kick up heavy rain showers there. and heavy showers in new mexico. flash flood, or flood advisories at this time. boulder in colorado there, you've had very significant flooding. there's been one report of a casualty out there. so very serious flooding continuing to occur, is expected to occur throughout the rest of
the work week as well, even going into saturday. you'll finally start to get a little break from this. across the northeast, already some thunderstorms rolled through there on wednesday, going into thursday. power outages across parts of upstate new york. that's continuing to weaken out. as the cold front pushes off the coastline, it will shoot off to the north. cooler temperatures are filtering in. toronto getting down to 15 on friday. chicago at 18. we'll slowly rebound back up, though, right around average by the start of next week. let's look towards europe. that cutoff low still spinning in place. thunderstorm advisories in effect throughout southern italy, over to the balkan peninsula. british isles seeing rain showers as well. but nothing too intense. dreary, wet conditions. london, a high of 18 on your friday. that's a look at your world
before we go, we'd like to show you how traditional japanese symbols of good luck are getting people excited. the crafts people are making dolls in the five colors of the olympic rings. they work in the country's main center of production. they're making dolls in various colors for the past 15 years. >> translator: we hope our dolls will help people feel a bit closer to the olympics. >> even the price of these dolls has an olympic theme. the games are continuing to come to tokyo in 2020, so a set of