welcome to nhk world "newsline." i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. new concerns. a senior tepco official warns the situation at the fukushima daiichi is not under control. attempting diplomacy, u.s. and russian officials agree to discuss ways to get syria's warring parties to talk.
and a japanese opera singer uses her voice to give tribute to victims of two tragedies. a top official from tokyo electric power company says he does not think the situation at fukushima daiichi is under control. his statement comes amid new concerns that radioactive water at the stricken nuclear plant may have reached the ocean. leaders of japan's main opposition are now demanding answers from the government, particularly the prime minister. nhk world reports. >> reporter: japanese prime minister shinzo abe spoke with confidence before the international olympic committee. >> let me assure you that the situation is under control. >> reporter: but a top tepco official appears to have contradicted his words. at a meeting overnight by the opposition democratic party,
kazuhiko yamashita said he does not think the company is on top of the problems at the crippled nuclear plant. he said what's happening there goes beyond what tepco officials could foresee. 300 tons of radioactive water leaked from a storage tank at fukushima daiichi last month. workers are still trying to determine how far that water has spread. samples taken earlier this week from a location 30 meters from the sea showed 80 becquerels per liter of cesium 137. that's close to what the government says can safely be discharged into the sea. >> tokyo. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: prime minister abe's assurances on nuclear safety helped tokyo secure the 2020 olympics. now democratic party secretary-general akihiro ohata said abe should be held to his
words. >> translator: prime minister abe should fully explain to the people of fukushima and japan the reasons behind his declaration, that the situation at fukushima daiichi is under control. he has to follow through on his promise. >> reporter: dpj president says he'll count on all position parties to cooperate and bring up the subject at an extra session of the diet. but the abe administration is playing it down. chief cabinet secretary said he doesn't think the situation at fukushima daiichi is different from what the prime minister told the ioc. but others who visited the plant say the problems are severe. on thursday, a u.s. plant expert who led cleanup efforts after
the three mile island nuclear disaster said the problems at fukushima daiichi are far more complex than the u.s. plant. and with new information about the severity of the radioactive water leaks coming out every day, pressure is mounting on the government to deal with the issue. nhk world, tokyo. the top diplomats from the u.s. and russia have agreed to meet at u.n. headquarters later this month to bring the warring parties in syria together for an international conference. u.s. secretary of state john kerry and russian foreign minister sergey lavrov are having their seconds talk. they've discussed the possible conference that would be attended by representatives of the syrian government and all
opposition forces. >> we are working hard to find the common ground to be able to make that happen. >> to design a road which would make sure that this issue is resolved quickly, professionally, as soon as practical. >> reporter: but prospects for that meeting remain unclear because syrian opposition forces say they will not agree to any dialogue until president bashar al assad steps down. the focus is on russia's proposal to place syrian chemical weapons under international control. the united states is keeping options open for a military strike in case diplomatic efforts fail. taliban insurgents attacked a u.s. consulate in western afghanistan on friday, killing at least four people. the incident comes just days after the anniversary of the september 11th terrorist attacks. nhk world reports.
>> reporter: fighters brought a truck in front of the u.s. consulate in the capital on friday morning. and then detonated explosives on the vehicle. >> translator: an explosion took place at the gate of the u.s. consulate. and then a number of insurgents entered through the gates. we don't know how many there were. >> reporter: a fierce gun battle followed. insurgents exchanged fire with consulate guards and local security forces. security authorities say at least four people died, including police officers. 18 others were wounded. among them, civilians. in an e-mail linked to taliban, the taliban claimed responsibility. concerns remain over the
afghan's ability to enforce security on its own. friday's attack adds to those worries. the western part of the country has been considered relatively stable compared with the troubles east and south. they were able to target a heavily guarded location such as a u.s. consulate. afghanistan will hold a presidential election next april. concerns are mounting that the taliban may increase attacks against the afghan government and the u.s. targets as the vote nears. nhk world. the thai capital of bangkok is famous around the world for many things including its terrible traffic. but citizens who want to avoid the jams have another option -- travel by water. nhk world has the story. >> reporter: a floating market on the outskirts of bangkok.
the city is built on the canals, used to be the heart and soul. but these days markets like this are just for tourists. the new work of waterways that once crisscrossed bangkok. vehicles clog arteries through the city, where water and boats f car ownership in bangkok surpassed 8 million vehicles earlier this year. the jams are a massive social problem. water buses are becoming increasingly popular because they won't get stuck on busy roads. a private company operates these water buses along the 20-kilometer stretch of the canal in central bangkok.
a ticket costs around 3260.10. a journey that might take more than one hour pi road, takes just 15 minutes by canal. the number of water bus users has been rising year after year, as road traffic gets worse and worse. >> translator: it's impossible to predict how long it will take by car. boats are faster. and more punctual. >> translator: i can save both time and money by going by boat. >> reporter: but commuting by canal isn't completely hassle-free. speeding boats spray water as they pass down the narrow channel. passengers need to lift a plastic sheet to stay dry. >> translator: i need to change
my clothes if i get splashed, because the dirty water stinks. >> reporter: the bangkok administration wants to expand the water network to the congestion. it's looking at canals on the edge of the city. project coordinators have the job of reviving the waterways. but he's found various problems. the banks of the suburban canals aren't made of concrete, so they are eroded by waves from passing boats. and there's the stench from garbage thrown into the canal by local residents. the canals need to be cleaned often. >> translator: we normally collect garbage once a week. but sometimes there is so much,
we need to do it more frequently. >> reporter: he wants to fix this problem and launch water bus services along the canal next year. >> translator: this should be a model redevelopment. >> reporter: bangkok was once known as the venice of the east. but it turned its back to the water during its rush toward prosperity. now the city hopes these old waterways can help fix its transport problems and refresh its reputation. nhk world, bangkok. government ministers from japan and southeast asian countries have decided to join hands and set up a system to defend their nations against cyber attacks. internal affairs and communications minister from japan and asean nations have
wrapped up a two-day meeting in tokyo. they discuss measures to tighten their cooperation against attacks, including the illegal hacking of computers and online networks. japanese minister co-chaired the meeting and said a multi-national framework is necessary to tackle the problem. >> translator: cyberspace will further expand in the future. so we need to build a security network. we share the understanding that japan and the asean nations should make common rules and networks to deal with such a threat. >> a joint statement says the countries will establish a system that will sense a possible cyber attack and warn against computer virus infections. japan has sought data from the asean members to get it working together. the statement also calls for the creation of programs to increase the number of experts in the region to 1,000 over the next five years.
>> reporter: an achievement in medicine. but these japanese scientists haven't found a cure for cancer. they've discovered lab mice that have undergone heart transpla s transplants, live longer than those who listen to mota. >> we did show that opera -- ♪ >> reporter: a top honor in chemistry, these researchers found a new enzyme while analyzing why onions make people cry. >> which do you like? tearful onion or tearless?
thank you. >> reporter: teams from japan won first place in two of the ten categories at this year's ig nobel prizes. awards that celebrate the more or less serious side of scientists. they were created by a panel of improbable research historical scientific journal. and since then, have become a big deal in scientific circles. the award ceremony itself is held at harvard university, attended by some of the top names in the field. >> karaoke. >> reporter: scientists from japan do officially well at the
ig nobel. they've won top honors in different categories seven years and counting. past winners include the man who invented karaoke, who took home the ig nobel peace prize in 2004. and this team that won in the chemistry category in 2011 for inventing a fire alarm that alerts people by releasing the scent of wasabi. so why are the japanese so dominant when it comes to science with a smile. >> translator: i think japanese scientists have a tradition of doing humorous and fun research. >> reporter: the professor and his team won the ig nobel for psychology in 1995. they trained pigeons to tell the difference between paintings by
picasso and monet. he's concerned japanese researchers today are under pressure to produce quick results, and don't have time to explore their own scientific interests. >> translator: researchers should think about how their work will benefit society. they should have time to work on subjects they feel passionate about. there could be benefits to that research in the future. >> reporter: after all, the man now considered the father of modern astronomy was thought of as crazy, and even persecuted while he was alive. history has also shown that some science considered trivial at first have led to bigger break-throughs down the road.
so while the ig nobels give people a reason to laugh, the researchers on stage are proof that science doesn't always have to be serious in order to be significant. nhk world, tokyo. one of japan's leading opera singers has been using her voice to spread a message of peace and hope. every year she gives a september 11th concert to honor the victims of two tragic events. ♪ >> reporter: renowned soprano mac mackimorni has performed around the world.
one of the victims of the great east japan earthquake which struck on march 11th, 2011. the songs were not all from operas. she also sang well-known japanese tunes to give comfort to victims of the earthquake and tsunami. >> translator: i think japanese songs are unique, in that there are so many lyrics about the changing of the four seasons. >> translator: there are so many japanese songs about nature. i sang those songs because after so much devastation, we needed to remind ourselves of the pain they went through during the past two and a half years. >> reporter: mori was in washington when terrorists attacked the u.s. in 2001. she was scheduled to perform three days later. the city was on high alert and
terrified citizens were running through the streets. but the concert went ahead anyway. >> translator: when i went onstage, there was almost a full crowd. the audience thanked us and said they hoped the arts would help bring peace. i still get a little teary when i think about that concert. >> translato that experience change you in any way? >> translator: before that, i was focused on challenging myself to become a better performer, with difficult songs. i wanted to step up career-wise. but at that performance i decided i wanted to be a singer who could reach the heart and bring joy to the audience, even with simple songs. >> reporter: mori used this new approach to connect with the audience after japan's 2011 disaster. she wanted to give hope to people living in devastated areas. at a benefit concert in the
fukushima prefecture, she inspired the audience to join her in a song about their own town. ♪ >> translator: i was moved by the beautiful lyrics. i thought about how wonderful it is that people have such a strong connection to their hometown. >> reporter: in august, mori visited yamada town where more than 800 people died or are still missing. she gave a performance that was broadcast live on tv. she planned to perform a popular tune many times since the earthquake and tsunami. ♪
the tropical storm is approaching the japanese archipelago. we turn to robert speta for more. >> yeah, let's first start off by talking about our trap cal storm here, still moving off to the northwest. you can see on the satellite picture, actually the islands right in here, you're starting to see the cloud cover push overhead. winds already reported on the island there in ogisara at tropical storm strength winds. these trees really swaying in the breeze. and continuing to kick up. the worst is expected to hit the area on friday night into saturday. winds about 108 kilometers per hour. 33 millimeters an hour of rainfall. and high waves. conditions really going downhill. it does look like this is going to taper off throughout saturday and switch over towards mainland
into sunday. and eventually into monday as the storm tracks off to the northwest. it looks like it's going to make landfall here, but not really. it's going to make a hard right-hand turn and start to pull off to the northeast. the tokyo metro area and much of the kanto plain, looks like we'll see tropical storm strength winds and gusts up and over typhoon strength right now. right now 65 kilometers per hour. but it is expected to intensify. the churn is really going to be caused by a jet stream and a cold front pushing through the korean peninsula. that will bring about 100 millimeters of rainfall toward south korea and oh kid oh, then shifting over to sunday, it will get wrapped up with the tropical system. the cold air will mix in and heavy rainfall across much of the pacific coast of japan. you also get the upper-level cold air coming in, warm moisture on the surface. this is what we're talking about when we talk about instability in the atmosphere. i would not be surprised, and it's quite common, but more so
with this, if we do get a report of a tornado out of this. especially there in northern portions of the consul area. and the heavy rainfall coming with this, the flood threat. also take a look at the philippines. enhancement of the moon soon bringing in rainfall there for you. you'll be seeing thunderstorms in your forecast. taipei up to 30 on your saturday. toward the americas, we first start off with a tropical depression, expected to become a tropical storm pull off to the northwest. but moving very, very slowly. and that is the key with the forecast of this storm. it's not expected to become a full-fledged hurricane, just remain tropical storm status. not a big wind event. but due to the fact it's monday into tuesday, it's still over open water, it will drop a heavy amount of rainfall near coastal areas here in the pacific, even extending to the mountains. actually in the pacific and gulf of mexico, this is where we'll be seeing this. in the pacific we have a new low
pressure area that could become another storm system. a flood threat here, also continuing to watch the severe flooding in new mexico, out towards colorado. boulder, colorado, actual deaths confirmed at this time due to the severe flooding there with the moon sonsoon al moisture. it's going to taper off a little bit, but not too much of relief. severe thunderstorms rolling off towards new england into the canadian maritimes. behind it, high pressure is working its way in. and temperatures are cooling off. chicago, a high of 18 here on friday. that's a look at your world weather. here's your extended forecast.