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. japanese prime minister shinzo abe has dissolved the lower house of the diet and wants the people to judge whether or not to proceed with his economic policy. a panel of u.s. lawmakers has warned that china's growing military capability will pose an increasing challenge to america and japan.
♪ and we'll show you how a japanese pop group is gaining popularity for their approach to keeping the country clean. voters in japan have a date to mark on their calendars. prime minister shinzo abe dissolved the lower house of the diet and set a general election for december 14th. abe has been in office since december 2012. he says he's seeking public support for his economic policy known as abenomics. >> the speaker of the chamber declared the dissolution. the campaign officially starts on december 2nd, and people will cast their ballots 12 days later. prime minister abe is framing the vote as a choice between abenomics and other alternatives.
>> translator: through the election campaign, i would like to ask the people whether our economic policies are right or wrong. i'd like to ask the public whether there are any other options. >> abe says his government has increased employment, income and corporate profits. he said his economic policies rectified excessive depreciation of the yen, put an end to the hollowing out of industries and revitalized smaller businesses. he said abenomics is not complete until people in rural areas can feel the fruit of the economic recovery. >> translator: we should maintain and spur the momentum of the virtuous economic cycle that will enable people in all corners of the country to feel that the economy is recovering. there is no other way.
our growth strategy faces arguments from both supporters and opponents. some strongly resisted. i'm determined to push forward with the strategy, and better people's lives. >> abe said he plans to delay a consumption tax hike and he said he's determined to reform the nation's finances and improve social security systems. the tax is scheduled to rise from 8% to 10% next october by law. but abe plans to put it off by 18 months. he says abenomics would further improve the nation's economy in three years, before the dissolution the ruling coalition of abe's liberal democratic party and komeito held two thirds of the lower house seats. both the ruling and opposition parties have now effectively launched their election campaigns. here are their strategies. these are most of the parties that are expected to field
candidates in the election. here is what the leaders of some of the major parties have to say. yamaguchi is head of the junior party komeito. he explains why the ruling coalition remains the best option. >> translator: we have been working to revitalize the economy and end the deflationary spiral under the coalition agreement. it's important we further accelerate this effort. the coalition is the only choice to follow through on these efforts. we're determined to get voters to choose us. >> bandi kayeda heads the main democratic party he says his party will be more responsive to the people's wishes. >> translator: for the past two years, prime minister abe has been steamrolling through his policies and ignored constitutionalism on such matters as allowing the country the right to exercise collective self-defense, and the state's secrets bill. we need to question the current
administration's policies. >> the coleader of the japan opposition innovation party stresses the need for reform, which he says needed the ldp nor dpj can deliver. >> translator: our party is free of vested interest. we pledge to do away with these rights and interests and implement growth strategies or tighten regulation reform in a real sense. that's what we want to communicate to the public in an honest manner to gain its support. >> abe hopes to continue tackling the important items on his agenda by winning a mandate in this election. let's look back at what he's accomplished in his two years in office. >> reporter: abe returned to power for the second time in december 2012. his liberal democratic party won back the majority in the lower house. defeating the then-are youing democratic party of japan.
>> translator: let's do our best to return to a strong economy. by abenomics. >> reporter: abe pushed through a collection of revitalization plans called abenomics. aimed at ending decades of deflation. seven months after he took office abe and ldp coalition partner komeito swept to victory again in the upper house election. with both houses under his control, abe gained momentum to proceed with the long-standing defense policy goal. abe and his cabinet agreed to change the way the constitution had been interpreted. that included allowing the country to exercise its right to collective self-defense. they want japan to be able to defend closely related countries under attack in certain conditions.
but that desire has yet to become law. in september, abe reshuffled his cabinet for the first time since he took office in 2012. he wanted to build fresh support for his policies, including strengthening japan's ability to protect itself. he appointed five female ministers in an effort to promote the role of women in society. but, two of them resigned within two months of assuming their new positions. over allegations of political funding irregularities, and violation of the election law. >> translator: as prime minister, i am responsible for appointing the two ministers. i apologize to the public for creating this situation. >> reporter: recent economic data added to the prime minister's concerns.
japan's latest gdp figures show the country's economy shrank in the july to september period. abe now wants to postpone a consumption tax hike, which was scheduled to for next october. >> translator: i have made an extremely important decision that will affect people's lives, and the nation's economy. i've made up my mind that i should seek the mandate of the people without delay. >> reporter: opposition parties say abe has called the election in an attempt to conceal the failure of his economic policies. now, voters will get a chance to deliver their verdict. our senior political commentator masayo nakajima joined us with his analysis. >> lawmakers in the ruling liberal democratic party will be looking to keep their majority. so they can push ahead with
policies they say the country needs. the prime minister wants a mandate for his plans to raise a consumption tax. the tax was raised from 5% to 8% in april this year. he was going to put it up again, next october. but then he pushed back the timing to april 2017. abe said in his news conference that he will never postpone the tax hike again. one and a half years later, for fiscal reconstruction. lawmakers in the main opposition party say that abe called an election to try and hide the fact that abenomics is not working. they claim that the program's failure gave him no choice but to put off the consumption tax hike. but in the news conference, abe strongly said that he disagrees. he says -- he said his economic policies have pushed up share prices, corporate earnings,
wages, and employment. he claimed that the economy is in a good cycle. he said he'll ask voters if they want abenomics to continue. prime minister abe said in the news conference that he will be looking to keep the majorities so he can push ahead with his policies. the secretary-general of the ruling coalition have agreed to try to win more. at least 249 seats. that's still far fewer seats than they have now. but still it gives them a stable majority. it would give them half the seats on all the standing committees so they can set the legislative agenda. i don't think they will face much of a challenge. you know, public support is blow 10% for the main opposition party dpj. and over 35% for prime minister abe's party ldp. so at this point, abe's almost certain to get the confidence vote he needs to drive his policies forward.
voters in japan have a date to mark on their calendars. prime minister shinzo abe dissolved the lower house of the diet, and set a general election for december 14th. abe has been in office since december 2012. he says he's seeking public support for his economic policy known as abenomics. we now turn to the business aspect, after the dissolution of the lower house and ron madison is here with more on that story. ron? >> you know when all is said and done business leaders really just hoping that this will give a boost to the economy. they've urged policymakers to waste no time coming up with measures to keep the economy growing, and pull it out of deflation. they talked after japan's lower house was dissolved. the chairman of japan association of corporate executives said many hope the economy will enter a virtuous cycle and that livelyhoods will improve. >> translator: people are beginning to worry that the economy's recovery is weakening, and that it might return to
deflation. i hope the political vacuum created by the election will be short. and politicians will respond to people's expectations and alleviate their concerns. >> the chairman of the japan chamber of commerce and industry said rural firms benefit less from the weak yen. he wants to slow depopulation and invigorate regional economies. other news today, u.s. senators have criticized japanese firms takata and honda for taking more than three years to start recalling faulty air bags. executives from both firms testified at a senate hearing. takata, which makes the air bags, said the company had been notified of the problem by honda in may 2005. but he said takata took appropriate steps in examining the defect before ordering the first recall in november 2008. he denied any attempt to conceal the problem.
honda north america agreed the carmaker could have responded more quickly. but he insisted the company handled the issue properly at the time. lawmakers blamed both companies for not doing enough to uphold safety standards. and they want a quick nationwide recall. the japanese maker said appropriate data is necessary before they take such a measure. we're hearing now that china's central bank says it will cut its one-year deposit rate by 25 basis points to 2.75%. the people's bank of china said it will also cut the one-year lending rate by 40 basis points to 5.6%. china's gdp grew by 7.3% in july to september. that was slightly down from the previous quarter, analysts say the economy is slowing down there. well the interest rate cut boosted european shares. major benchmarks in the region are extending earlier gains. we're seeing that frankfurt is moving ahead now 1.7%. paris has also gained ground. now up 1.5%.
london's ftse 100 is up by 0.75%. also investor sentiment being lifted by growing speculation that the european central bank will provide further stimulus measures. earlier in the day the bank's president mario draghi said inflation expectations were declining to levels seen as excessively low. here in asia, most markets finished up with the help of upbeat economic data out of the u.s. tokyo's nikkeiose to a one-week high. china's shanghai composite bounced back from recent market weakness. mumbai's sensex index posted a record high close. moving on to currency's now draghi's comments are pushing the euro down against other major currencies including the dollar. right now we're seeing that at 1.2431. meanwhile the dollar is largely unchanged against the yen from levels during late asian trading hours. we've got it in that upper 117 range, roughly 117.80. okay. that is going to do it for biz this hour. let's get a recap of the markets.
the japan coast guard has arrested the captain of a chinese boat for operating illegally near japan's ogasawara islands. the chinese captain was arrested in japanese waters in the pacific early friday. he's being taken to the coast guard's yokohama station to be interviewed. coast guard officials suspect that the crews of chinese boats operating in the area are engaged in coral poaching. on thursday they increased the
number of night time patrol boats. officials think chinese crews have been avoiding the island's during the day and entering japan's waters at night to evade detection. they have been trying to drive the chinese boats from the area and force them to use up fuel before they enter areas that are rich in coral. but they decided to change tactics. 47 chinese boats were spotted in the area on thursday and 44 on wednesday. the number has dropped from over 200 earlier this month. a u.s. congressional panel says china's advancing military cape ands will challenge those of america and japan. the warning is in the u.s./china economic and security review commission's annual report. it says chinese president xi jinping appears to have more control over national security and foreign policy than his predecessor. and he is pursuing a more active role for china in regional and international affairs. the report indicates xi's approach is ratcheting up tension with japan over the
senkaku islands in the east china sea. japan controls the senkaku islands. the japanese government maintains the islands are part of japan's territory. china and taiwan claims them. the report also talks about rapid developments china's military is making in space. they've been testing missiles that can travel more than five times the speed of sound. the committee warns all u.s. military satellites could be under threat from chinese forces in five to ten years. china's nuclear force would also be more of a threat. professor robert sutter is with george washington university. he says china's behavior over the past years undermines u.s. interests in asia. >> we want to get along with china and we hope that they will be collaborative with us as we go forward. but we have to keep our powder dry. we have to be prudent. >> sutter said the u.s. needs a stronger alliance with japan and south korea to counter chinese activity. the last british governor of
hong kong has advised student protesters to clear the streets. chris patton has been a strong supporter of the demonstrations in the former british colony. but now he says he's worried about a backlash. patton made the comments to the u.s. congressional executive commission on china through a video link from london. he praised the students' nearly two-month-long campaign to seek a democratic election, but he also said that if there are court injunctions to move out of a particular area, they have to be obeyed. >> i think i would, for the time being, at least drop down a few notches with this campaign but be prepared to continue it in other ways in the future. >> patten said leaders in beijing and hong kong have failed to engage in serious dialogue with the students. patten is apparently concerned if the current impasse continues and the protesters become violent, there could be repercussions.
the former governor remains a respected figure among the people of hong kong. a japanese pop group is trying to get people to change their tune about trash. they're singing in the streets while they clean. some of their fans are helping them along the way. >> reporter: tokyo's neighborhood bustles with young people. on this day volunteers have shown up for a cleaning event. once a week this group gathers to clean the shopping district around the train station. some female volunteers have joined the large number of men at the event. the girls are members of a pop group.
this all-female pop group released their debut record in september. their lyrics encourage people to clean. ♪ >> translator: it's really hard to be successful if you don't have a specific concept. when i asked them what they're good at, and what's special about them, they said the young woman said they like to clean and tidy up. so, we started to think that cleaning should be their theme. >> reporter: clear's has put together a plan to spruce up the whole country. all of the group's key members are certified cleaning professionals.
between meeting their fans and performing in concerts, the members find time to participate in cleaning events, organized by npos around the country. removing trash, with the help of fans, helps make the group a growing concern. when clear's members go somewhere to pick up trash, scores of fans help. >> translator: it's fun to be able to clean up with them. it's like killing two birds with one stone because the town gets clean, too. i think it's great. >> reporter: today, roughly 40 people took part in the cleanup. they spend more than an hour picking up garbage and separating it. >> translator: we hope that as our fan base grows, people will stop throwing trash on the street and more people will take part in cleanups like these. >> translator: i hope that our
activities will encourage people to keep clean. >> reporter: clear's has made local cleanups a core activity. so far the members have formed trash collecting groups in cities like tokyo, osaka, and nagoya. this publicity has paid off. a cleaning goods company uses the performers as brand ambassadors. >> translator: if we can form clear's groups all over the country, our towns will be cleaner. we want to continue to expand to worever we receive a request. >> translator: our dream is to go overseas to clean and then give a live show. together with our fans. ♪ >> reporter: some day clear's aims to have groups in all 47 of japan's prefectures. they've been gaining attention
as a model for success, ever diversifying pop business. people in parts of china are suffering from bad air pollution. our meteorologist sayaka mori joins us for debt tails. sayaka? >> yes, gene, last week in beijing the air was quite clean. however, the sky turned yellowish this week. this w the scene coming out of beijing on thursday. beijing residents woke up to heavy smog on thursday. it's a week after the at the government lifted air pollution control, put in place for apec forum to make sure of blue skies. authorities are calling for the pollutants hazardous. residents are advised to take protective measures and limit outdoor activities. now we need rain or wind to disperse the smog. and we're seeing windy conditions over the beijing area on friday. the conditions are improving there. however, instead the shanghai area and inland china will see conditions worsening as we go into the weekend.
and some pollutant will move into the border of north korea and south korea on your saturday. so you may want to wear masks. now across japan, we're seeing some rainfall across kyushu and also some rain and snowfall over the hokkaido area, but in the middle, sunny weather and sunny weather will likely continue into the next three days. monday is our national holiday. tokyo warmer than average temperures with partly sunny skies continuing into your monday. so enjoy your holiday weekend. now, across europe, we still have a low pressure system which has a history of producing flooding and mudslides for many parts of southern europe this week. it's still packing lots of moisture. enough to create more heavy rainfall, gusty conditions, and thunderstorms over the black sea region into the weekend. now, this high pressure system is sending colder air from the north. so we are seeing some snowfall in the area like eastern poland down towards eastern parts of ukraine, but that should taper off by your saturday. starting to see some wet and windy conditions over the
british isles. but, london area, staying sunny on your friday, and temperatures are going to be up to 9 degrees. now in paris, 12 degrees and things will get warmer as we go in to the weekend. all right, across the americas, as we have been reporting, people in western part of new york state are dealing with excessive amounts of snowfall. some areas saw nearly 200 centimeters of snowfall over the past several days. and we are seeing some lots of windy conditions, as well. so the combination of winds and snow are creating low visibility and dangerous windchill values, as well. thunderstorms are happening out there. up to 30 centimeters of snow could fall into the end of friday. now as we go into the weekend, another concern will happen, because temperatures will rise above freezing, and snow could change over to rain, so there's a possibility of flooding over the weekend. so please watch out for that. meanwhile, severe thunderstorms could happen over the deep south into texas starting late friday
into your sunday. some isolated tornadoes could happen. and turning wet over the western parts of the u.s. and western canada, snow could fall in the northern rockies and heavy rainfall for coastal locations. los angeles, you see some rainfall finally, high of 21 degrees. meanwhile chicago, minus 1 degree. that's quite higher compared to what we saw over the past couple of days in washington, d.c. 2 degrees. in new york city, 3 degrees. and as we go in to the thanksgiving weekend, we expecting temperatures are quite warmer than normal in new york, into your sunday. but down to the single digits on your thanksgiving day. all right that's what's coming up. here's the extended forecast.
>> seize the opportunity, that's the message from france's foreign minister to tehran, as iran's foreign minister prepares to leave vienna to head to tehran for consultations, this as talks continue in vienna just days ahead of monday's deadline for a final deal on iran's nuclear program. shaking up the american immigration system, barack obama bypasses congress to push through reform that could help millions of illegal immigrants get work permits. republicans, though, warn it will lead to more immigration rather than less. and britain's anti-e.u. party gets its second m.p. into westminster after a