i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. deadline for decontamination. the company in charge at fukushima daiichi says it will deal with all radioactive water by march 2015. what to do with the waste. japan's industry ministry proposes a way to handle tiely dangerous substances from all the country's nuclear plants.
and catering this country's curvier consumers. japanese fashion executives see a promising niche. tokyo electric power company set a tentative deadline to have the process complete by march 2015. engineers at the troubled facility will face major hurdles trying to meet that goal. nhk world reports. >> reporter: abe on thursday took his second look at the fukushima daiichi plant. the visit was apparently in response to international concerns of whether the situation at the site is really under control. >> translator: tepco's president said they'll complete the decontamination of radioactive water in fiscal 2014.
>> reporter: tepco officials say some 440,000 tons of wastewater are present in the building's basement. 15,000 tons or more has accumulated in underground tunnels. workers store 400 more tons of radioactive water every day. the problem was caused by massive amounts of groundwater pouring into the damaged complex. engineers had expected a water filtering facility called the advanced liquid processing system, or alps, which reduced the amount of radioactive water. the facility was designed to filter out most of the radioactive elements. workers gave it a test run in march. abe toured the buildings that houses the alps.
operators say they found holes in the machinery caused by corrosion. abe says the government will build another water filtering facility. a tepco official said that will enable the utility to decontaminated 500,000 tons of water every day. company officials must also find a way to remove radioactivity from the water. they admit the goal of completing the decontamination by march 2015 will be tough to meet. nhk world, tokyo. prime minister abe also asked tepco on thursday to decommission the number 5 and 6 reactors at fukushima daiichi. japan's industry ministry supported the idea. >> translator: decommissioning
number 5 and 6 will create more space, and more tanks will be set up there to decontaminate wastewater. >> tepco could use the two facilities to train its engineers. he said such training is impossible at the damaged number 1 to 4 reactors due to high levels of radiation. the number 5 and 6 reactors were not damaged by the 2011 quake and tsunami, unlike plant 4. officials also have to decide on how to deal with the nuclear waste at all of japan's nuclear plants. the industry ministry has proposed at least a temporary solution to ease growing concerns. about 1,700 cylinders of nuclear waste are currently being stored in facilities at the village in northern japan. the government estimates all nuclear waste in the country will fill 25,000 cylinders.
the waste inside them is so highly radioactive, it would kill a person within 20 seconds of exposure and would take tens of thousands of years for its toxicity to subside. the government plans to encase each cylinder in cement and bury them some 300 meters underground. but japanese scientists warn it would be difficult to find an appropriate location, because japanese is so prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity. out of lack of a better alternative, the ministry is suggesting putting the waste underground and retrieving it if concerns later arise about its safety, or if technology is developed to reduce its toxicity. the u.s. secretary of state is urging the u.n. security council to make sure syria will be held accountable if it does not give up its chemical weapons. john kerry is asking for a binding resolution to get the syrian government to follow
through on its pledge. >> the security council must be prepared to act next week. it is vital for the international community to stand up and speak out in the strongest possible terms. >> kerry said a recent u.n. report confirmed the u.s. claim that bashar al assad's regime attacked its own people with chemical weapons last month. the u.s. has been seeking international support for a military strike against syria. but has now put that plan on hold. because syria accepted a russian proposal to surrender its chemical weapons stockpile. the experts who will oversee the disposal of syria's arsenal are preparing for their mission. they belong to the organization before the prohibition of chemical weapons, or opcw. they're calling the mission a historic challenge for the organization. this is the report from the hague. >> reporter: inspectors confirm that the nerve agent sarin was
used in last month's attack in the suburb of damascus. they expected to return to syria once the security council adopts a resolution. the russia-u.s. agreement calls on the syrian government to allow thepectors in by november. all chemical weapons would have to be destroyed. the international organization is based in the hague. it's a global watchdog that will implement the chemical weapons convention. more than 100 international experts act as inspectors. they have conducted missions in 86 countries, including libya and iraq. the investigations often involve considerable personnel risks. >> we need to know what kind of agent you encounter. it can be a chemical agent or toxic agent. the most important thing is that you have an indication what you might encounter. >> reporter: collected samples
are preserved in double and sometimes triple-sealed containers. the researchers verify the results of analysis conducted at multiple facilities around the world. officials say the mission in syria is the first time the inspectors have worked in the middle of a civil war. >> it's a mission which has never been before been contemplated by the opcw. it's an extraordinary challenge. >> reporter: experts from the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons are already preparing a road map for the expected mission. they're anticipating a wide range of challenges in securing chemical weapons. nhk world, the hague. india's central bank has
raised its key interest rates. the reserve bank of india is trying to halt the rupe slide and ward off inflation. it has taken the step amid speculation that the u.s. federal reserve will start tapering its massive monetary stimulus. they raised the repo rate by 0.25 percentage points to 7.5% immediately. it's the first time in about two years for the bank to push up the interest rates. rbi governor noted that the are you you -- rupe rebounded after the fed decided to keep the monetary easing policy unchanged. but governor ra jan was caution about the strat bank's future moves. he said the monetary authorities have to improve the country's economy before the fed eventually scales back its bond-buying program. japanese prime minister to with representatives from
business and labor to achieve a positive economic cycle. abe addressed the inaugural meeting of government business and union leaders on friday. they called on the government to take bold steps to maintain the recent economic uptrend. they said they will eventually lead to higher wages. labor union officials asked abe to address the issue of disparity between workers, and large and small firms as well as problems nonregular workers are facing. >> translator: japan's economy is regaining vigor. the next challenge is to bring about a positive economic cycle that leads to corporate profits, higher wages and more jobs. >> abe expressed hope that the leaders will hold frank discussions to achieve the goal. his administration plans to hold three-way talks about five more times this year.
sales at department stores in japan increased in august for the first time in two months. the japan department store association said sales at more than 240 stores around the country amounted to more than $4.3 billion last month, up 2.7% year on year. heat wave pushed up sales of summer goods, that included clothes, parasols and cosmetics like sunscreen as the economy shows signs of recovery. sales of luxury items like watches and furniture jumped nearly 18%. association officials are hoping that september sales will show another gain, though japan was hit by a severe tropical storm earlier this month. the latest models of apple's iphones have hit tokyo shelves. a japanese mobile phone operators are feeling the heat as the nation's largest carrier joins the iphone market.
consumers scrambled to get their hands on the 5-s and lower-cost 5-c. the new iphones went on sale friday. it's the first time for japan's telecom giant to offer the device. the officials lag behind their competitors in signing a deal with apple executives. the stalled negotiations cost the bottom line, as its customers who wanted an iphone switch. all carriers launched promotional campaigns. they included discount packages. they did not charge for hand-sets. here are the latest market figures.
typhoon usagi is battering northern philippines and southern taiwan. for more we turn to our meteorologist, robert speta. >> we continue to keep a close eye on this. a monster of a storm continuing to roll off to the west. i'll show you the visible satellite imagery just before sunset out here. just to the northeast of the philippines, you can see the eye really well developed. the defined spiral of circulation around the storm system, a clear indication of just how strong it is. people ahead of it do need to be taking it quite seriously. i know the philippines has
issued the highest warning level for the islands right here in the luzon straight. about 15,000 people live there. farther to the north in taiwan, this photo taken by a colleague of mine that shows a lot of the traffic continuing to head towards the north. most of the people in these cars there on the northbound lane actually are tourists. it's an extended weekend in taiwan. it's a holiday weekend. so a lot of people headed down south for that extended weekend. but now starting to head north to get ahead of this. still many of the locals, though, this part of the world, very used to typhoons. so they're going to be ready for this as they hunker down. winds now 198 kilometers per hour. the main threat i do believe will be the heavy rainfall along the east coast of taiwan here. widespread accumulations, could be up to 400 millimeters. some areas could see much, much more than that. as for now, hong kong, you're actually going to be seeing decent weather going through the day on friday. but -- or excuse me, saturday.
but by sunday it will really go downhill as the storm heads off in your direction. the rest of the weather in just a few minutes. >> robert, thanks. new iranian president rowhani continues to demonstrate a more open approach to dealing with his country's issues. he heads to the u.n. general assembly next week. rowhani made his appeal in an opinion peace. the article appeared in a "washington post." he urged his counterparts to seize the opportunity presented by his election. the new president began exhibiting his openness to dialogue after taking office last month. some analysts speculate he hopes to meet with u.s. president barack obama during his visit to new york. a white house spokesperson responded by saying such a meeting is possible but that it
has always been possible. >> the new president has made clear that he wants to, or has said he wants to address that problem. and to do that, he needs to demonstrate that he's serious about resolving this conflict with the international community. >> french president francois hollande said he's scheduled to meet with rowhani next week in new york. thousands of people took to the streets near the greek capital of athens. they were protesting the murder of an anti-fashionist rap musician by a suspected member of an extreme right-wing group. 34-year-old pablo was stabbed to death on wednesday. greek authorities have arrested a 45-year-old man who says he's a member of the rightist group known as golden dawn. some demonstrators carried placards that said stop the fascists. support has grown during the
country's crisis. the group has been blamed for a series of attacks against immigrants who they claim are stealing jobs. golden dawn has denied any involvement in the rapper's killing. the minister said he's sent prosecutors evidence that members of the group have committed 32 criminal acts across the country. he called for the culprits to be prosecuted under organized crime laws. the head of the council of europe, the region's top human rights agency, plans to meet with greek officials in october to discuss responses to the group's violence. the woman set to be the next u.s. ambassador to japan said he intends to follow the advice of her father, the late president john f. kennedy. caroline kennedy said if she's confirmed she will work in lines with her father's wishes. >> i will carry forward his legacy in a small way and represent the powerful bonds
that represent our two democratic societies. >> kennedy testified before the senate foreign relations committee. it was the first time she has publicly discussed policies on japan. she visited hiroshima in 1978 with her uncle, the late senator edward kennedy. she said the u.s. alliance with japan remains the cornerstone of peace, stability and prosperity in asia. and she said she can think of no other country in which she would rather serve. >> i will work to increase exchanges between american and japanese students, scholars and citizens, so that future generations will understand our shared history and continue to bind our nations closer. >> japan's top government spokesman expressed hope that kennedy would soon be confirmed. >> translator: japan welcomes president obama's nomination of caroline kennedy to be the next u.s. ambassador to japan. we are hoping for her early arrival, and her success in various fields.
>> if confirmed, kennedy would become the first woman to serve as u.s. ambassador to japan. shopping in japan can be a challenge for people who wear larger sizes. both japanese tend to be slender or of average build. now many in the fashion business see an opportunity. >> reporter: this is a photo shoot with models dressed in chic fashions. but there's a difference. the models are not real thin. she may not have the type of body usually featured in fashion magazines, until recently scrap knees fashion magazines featured only slender women. this magazine dared to be different by featuring models
with more curves. the magazine gives them fashion tips. some models weigh over 100 kilograms. the magazine publishes the height, weight and bust/hip/waist ratio of each model. the first issue of the magazine came out in march. it sold 100,000 copies. that was twice as many as the publishers expected. harumi is the founder and editor. she's surprised by its success. >> translator: there were many consumers who could not enjoy fashion, because they had bigger builds. so when we came out with this magazine, it was a hit with them. >> reporter: that is why people at a major talent agency, and one of japan's top fashion magazines, they decided to hold a joint audition for plus-sized women.
the organizers are confident these aspiring models and actresses will fill a niche in japan. clothing stores for plus-size women are opening in major cities. sales of this brand are up 10% over last year. >> translator: before, i couldn't find anything i wanted. but recently i have been finding more clothes that i like in my size. >> reporter: saki has been hired for a shoot for a fashion magazine. she said she used to feel bad about her figure. >> translator: i was always large. kids bullied me during junior high school. i never smiled. no matter what i did, i wasn't happy. >> reporter: but her modeling work has given her new confidence.
when saki signed on a shoot, she works at a nursing home. the residents say her smile has become brighter since she joined modeling. saki's mother has noticed the change, too. >> translator: as a parent, i'm so glad that she's smiling and becoming a cheerful person. >> translator: i became the opposite of the depressed person i used to be. fashion changed my life. >> reporter: women of all body types are interested in dressing well. people in the fashion industry are waking up to this fact. and that's bringing smiles to more women's faces. we are back with meteorologist robert speta with the rest of the weather around the world. robert? >> well, we are going to
continue to watch typhoon usagi bearing down on the philippines, and also southern portions of taiwan. but there's also several other areas in the tropics we're continuing to keep an eye on here today going into the weekend. a tropical depression over guam at this time. flash flood warnings and watches in effect for much of the mariana islands. you'll continue to see the heavy rain, up to five meter high waves as well. this is expected to become the next named tropical storm going into saturday. very well could be impacting the south of tokyo as well. so something to watch going into next week. now, farther towards the north, high pressure has been dominating much of japan. still, western japan, some of the outer rain bands of usagi could be pushing into the southern japanese islands. nothing too intense down here, but there will be breezy conditions, and isolated showers as we go through the day on saturday. farther towards the north, i want to talk about the cold air over northeastern china. beijing, not so bad.
but if you go to mongolia, and the far east part of russia, it really is going to be chilly, especially through the overnight hours. below freezing temperatures in some areas. sleet and possibility of snow in the forecast for ulon. highs expected there for you. tokyo, 31 degrees on saturday. sunny skies out there, but much of the tropics continuing to contend with the rain showers. now, as far as the americas, i know yesterday we were talking about hurricane manuel, just off the coast of mexico. continuing to bring those heavy rain showers. well, now, the conditions are improving. that's the good news. that's getting wrapped up with a cold front farther to the northeast. flash flooding across texas now, already seeing the risk there, as that continues to run off there along with the cold front. to the great lakes region, the risk of severe thunderstorms, actually, large hail, straight line damaging winds could be coming out of this. i don't think so much of a
tornado threat, but we still want to watch possibility of that, as that cold air continues to spin out of canada as well. just interacting with this warm air along the eastern seaboard. don't be surprised if it shifts off to the east and west of ontario. dry and windy conditions in the southwest. actually, fire weather advisories in place across portions of nevada, and extending out towards california. here's a look at your temperatures, though. warm there into the eastern seaboard. actually, washington, d.c., new york, you're in the high 20s, and possibly low 30s in some areas. a quick look at europe. the main topic out here has been all week the strong storm system off towards the east. now it's in eastern europe, continuing to spin up heavy rainfall, gusty winds possibly out of this. it's going to be weakening out. the next system that's going to be moving in, dominating western europe, is the high pressure here. that will come in from the west, bring in fairer skies with it and also temperatures will be
japan's space agency says it has set a new world record. its weather observation balloon reached an altitude of 53.7 kilometers. the japan aerospace exploration agency released the helium filled balloon from a test site in northern japan. it's made of a special film just 3 micrometers thick. it's the world's thinnest weather balloon. and this helped it reach the record altitude of in just two hours and 40 minutes. the previous record for unmanned balloon flight was 53 kilometers