z . it's 8:00 p.m. in japan. welcome to "newsroom tokyo." i'm sho beppu. >> and i'm aki shibuya. >> we start with the headlines. prosecutors in south korea want
president park geun-hye to agree to be questioned about a scandal involving her longtime friend. growing concern about what stance the new u.s.
administration will take on the climate change. and the dollar rises against the yen. the man who commands american forces in the pacific says the u.s. remains committed to allies in the region. to scrap or restore nap is the question. people want to have examples of japan's unique architecture. prosecutors in south korea are urging president park geun-hye to agree to be questioned about the scandal that's dogged her over the past few weeks.
>> they say they can wait until friday. they're expected to indict her longtime friend who is the centerf the scandal on saturday. >> translator: it is imperative that we question the president and person. >> the prosecutors want to ask park about her confidant choi soon-sil. they believed choi attempted to commit fraud.
park has admitted giving her access to some policy documents on state affairs. the president's lawyers asked prosecutors to delay the questioning. >> translator: i need to take considerable time to study the issues and prepare the defense. in principal, the questioning should be carried out in written form. >> opposition lawmakers and the media have slammed park for paralyzing the government. conservative newspaper ran a front page story under the headline "the president who sparked public outrage." accused park of obstructing the investigation to buy time. high-profile politician cho-soo called on park to step down. >> translator: a new leader should be chosen in the first
half of the next year at the latest. president park should not be able to fulfill her time. >> public anger has been further fueled by allegations that choi soon-sil's daughter was given preferential treatment during his school days. officials in seoul said on wednesday confirmed she attended high school for only 17 days in her senior year. they say they're considering voiding her graduation. two pro-independent lawmakers in hong kong says they'll challenge a court ruling that refuses them from taking office. over how much independence the city should have from beijing. >> translator: it was anticipated because hong kong's government exerted pressure on the court in various ways. >> we can uphold our sincere
belief and fight to the end. but we could have to risk our own lives. >> the high court ruled on tuesday that neither's oath of al allegiance was valid. the two altered the wording of the pledge and displayed a flag reading, hong kong is not china. the territory's lawmakers must pledge allegiance sincerely and precisely. the judge indicated that beijing's intervention did not influence him. as fears over the mainland's influence grow, they have examined the qualifications of 13 others. they also say they should be disqualified for failing to properly read out their oaths. senior officials from japan
and russia are hammering out the details of some economic cooperation agreements. >> russian president vladimir putin is scheduled to visit japan and meet shinzo abe next month. japanese foreign minister fumio kishida and russian first deputy minister met on tuesday. they said they'll speed up talks in about ten agreements between the two countries. kishida said he wants the countries to work together in political, economic, and cultural fields. and he said he hopes they can get closer to a peace treaty acceptable to the people of both countries. russia and japan did not sign one after world war ii. >> japan's officials were worried about the status of the talks after surprise announcement tuesday. >> russian investigators detained the minister who was in charge of the discussions for corruption. but the kremlin has acted swiftly to announce his replacement. the government appointed a man
who's been involved in the talks since the beginning. they've picked stanislav. voskresnesky. russian investigators have charged his predecessor ulyukayev for taking a stake in another state run oil firm. ulyukayev is reportedly denying the charges. delegates at a climate change conference in morocco show concern about what a donald trump government will take on the agreement. >> they're looking how to push ahead with the scheme in the face of possible u.s.
resistance. >> reporter: the meeting on the paris agreement less than a year after it was adopted in the capit capital. one hot issue is how the u.s. will change its policy. the world's second largest emitter has been a driving force behind negotiations on the paris agreement, but president-elect donald trump is skeptical of global warming. leaders and other delegates spoke on the possible consequences. >> translator: i assure you that france will lead dialogue with the united states and its new president that's respectful and open but also affirmative.
>> reporter: closely watching the debate is an expert on climate change. >> people are really concerned about the result of the presidential election in the united states. but it's in the corridor so the rule making has already started and it's on track. people here including the united states american delegation are now doing the role making process in a very serious tone and we are making progress. >> reporter: she singles out one of the key issues that could be greatly affected by the change in the u.s. presidency. >> finance issue could be severely damaged because america was number one country who pledged finance to the green climate fund. so people are really concerned about the finance issue.
>> reporter: she stresses that countries now must take on a greater role. >> united states is not only the one major emitter anymore. we have china, brazil, india, and european union who are already playing a big role in the negotiations. so the other nations who are willing to commit themselves to the paris agreement can move forward with or without the u.s. on board. of course we all want to have the united states on board. >> reporter: each country needs to demonstrate instead of relying on others. and she called in japan especially to play an active role. japan used to be a key player in combatting climate change but was slow to ratify the paris agreement. takafumi terui, nhk world.
let's get the updates in business with yuko fukushima. >> hello. as we've just seen in the report, many government officials are worried about the position of the next u.s. president. i understand in the business sector, business people are interested in finding opportunities. >> that's right. decided to invest in one of the largest biomass projects in the uk. more in a moment. in other news tonight here in japan, banks extend record lows to the real estate sector. the government will offer smaller mid-size business incentives to have higher wages. let's start with markets and the dollar against the yen. the dollar advanced about one yen from trading yesterday from overnight gains in the u.s. retail sales figures were better
than expected leading investors to think the economy is strong enough for a rate hike. now trading 109.68-76. now, the nikkei rose to 17,862. more than a nine-month high. traders bought export shares on the back of a weaker yen. they also picked up financial stocks as higher japanese bond yields could bring more profits for the banks. many large amounts. so a brief look at the bond market. the yield on the 10-year touched 0.015%. now to the chinese currency. the dollar is strengthening against all currencies and the chinese yuan is no exception. again at the mid-point before yesterday's point. the ninth consecutive day it's been set lower. here's how the dollar is trading now against the chinese currency. and to a broad picture for stock indexes in the region, resource
shares led the index up as oil prices surged on tuesday. more investors believe oil producing nations will come to an agreement this month to deal with an oversupply. a move by the bank of japan to stimulate the economy appears to be paying off especially for people in the real estate industry. japanese banks provided the largest ever amount of loans for realtors in the first half of 2016. since the boj introduced a negative interest rate. surveyed the volume of new lending by 139 banks across the country. they say the banks' outstanding loans to companies and individuals from april to september stood at more than $200 billion. that's up 16% from the same period last year. the banks led about $54 billion to the real estate industry. real estate agents and funds are borrowing more money to invest
in condominiums and office buildings thanks to the negative interest rate. with the paris agreement in effect, nhk has learned a japanese government affiliated bank intends to provide loans in britain. the green energy uses materials from land and animals. the bank of japan along with other institutions in japan and europe are planning for a plant near middlesbrough. it will supply electricity to some 600,000 homes starting as early as 2020. the sources say the development bank is hoping to apply the know-how on how to produce in japan. prime minister abe has been urging companies to introduce pay hikes as part of his plan to boost the economy and reform the
workplace. now officials at the finance ministry are moving on that measure. they've started drawing up new incentives aimed at getting new companies to pay out higher wages. the officials are thinking about includes thegz tax breaks for small and mid-sized firms that boost wages. under the current system, companies get a tax cut of up to 10% for every pay raise. the tax breaks totaled just over $1.5 billion in 2014. ministry officials will look at ways to encourage not only mid and small companies but also major corporations to implement larger wage hikes. another of the prime minister's goal is to reform the workplace. today in the second of a three-part series we focus on working hours in japan where excessive overtime has long been a problem.
now some japanese companies are cutting back. >> reporter: it's just past 6:00 p.m., people at this company are packing up and heading out. they work for a major steel manufacturer with more than 10,000 employees. the management banned staff from staying at the office past 7:00 p.m. since then, employees' monthly overtime have dropped by about 40%. but a problem has cropped up. some workers complain the company has done away with overtime without reducing the workload. >> translator: i think our company has accumulated many unnecessary customs. >> reporter: managers are taking
steps to fix this. they put limits on meetings. before employees might join a meeting to share information even if they weren't involved. now only people with direct responsibility take part. in-house communication has also become more efficient. in the past, some meetings minutes contained every person's comments. now discussions are summarized. correspondence used to include every participant's department and job title. but confirming the information took time. >> translator: it's important to continue with our efforts to change the working climate. i hope each employee will reconsider whether existing tasks are really necessary.
>> reporter: another company has gone a step further. it's using a novel approach to raise productivity. it provides website production and services. many of the 50 employees are women and are caring for children who are aging parents. the president came up with a way to let people work shorter hours. >> translator: our employees work by the minute. if they finish the day's tasks early, they can leave the office. >> reporter: the firm scores employees based on the amount of work they do per hour. for data entry, one letter is counted as one point. the total number of points is divided by the work hours. workers with the highest score
can become eligible for a raise. officials say some people put in about five hours but aren't as mu -- earn as much as others who work a full day. today this woman finished work in four hours and left at 3:00. she is a single mother. she said the job allows her to have more time with her child. >> translator: i can work at this company without pushing myself too hard. it's the only place where that's possible. >> reporter: under the payment system, the company's personnel cost rose by 4%, but sales jumped 16%. showing that their shorter work day can be good for business.
keita kage, nhk world. >> and that wraps it up for biz this wednesday. the head of the u.s. command says washington remains committed to the asia pacific. they made that comment as people wonder what impact president-elect trump will have when he takes office. >> will remain so well into the future. >> reporter:ed ed admiral harry harris said although the united states is going through a transition period, the country never has a lame duck commander in chief. trump made a number of controversial statements regarding asia during the election campaign. he called u.s. alliances with some countries unfair and promised to review them. >> we defend japan. we defend germany. we defend south korea. we defend saudi arabia. they do not pay us what they should be paying us because we
are providing tremendous service and we're losing a fortune. >> reporter: president barack obama met with trump after the election. he says trump expressed great interest in keeping the country's core strategic relationships. observers say trump is taking a more pragmatic stance now that the election is over. but they say many of his security policies are still unclear. a lawyer for a boy who was bullied after fleeing the 2011 fukushima nuclear disaster has spoken out. he released a note his young client wrote while attending an elementary school south of tokyo. it contained a threat to commit suicide. >> reporter: the boy writes about how hurt he felt when his classmates added the word germ to his name. he says he knew they were talking about radiation even though there was nothing wrong about his health.
the boy writes he thought about killing himself but he decided to keep on living despite the pain he felt. he kept in mind how many people died in the earthquake and tsunami. >> translator: the boy says he made the note public because he thought it would be meaningful if it could encourage other children. >> reporter: last december the boy's parents demanded an investigation. education authorities finally acknowledged this month that the boy was bullied. the mayor of yokohama has gotten involved in the case. she says it's heart breaking to know the boy endured such a traumatic experience. >> translator: episodes of serious bullying in the past gave rise to a protocol for preventing this kind of thing. but what's the point in having it if we don't follow it? >> reporter: hayashi says she's
asked the school board to explain the delay. workers in fukushima have started building an intermediate storage complex for soil and waste contaminated in the 2011 nuclear disaster. >> repter: ground breaking remonies were held tuesday in the towns of futaba and okuma. it'll be on a site that straddles the two. one will store waste and one will store soil. >> translator: i want each one of you to take pride in being a part of this essential work for regional revival. >> reporter: many tons of material were contaminated five years ago when the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant suffered a
meltdown. officials say it hadn't been possible to acquire land for the new site. the environment ministry plans to start operating the complex about a year from now. japan's nuclear regulator has again given approval for an aging reactor to operate beyond a mandated 40-year limit. >> reporter: the regulator gave the green light for up to 20 more years of operation. the reactor is part of the mihama nuclear power plant in central japan. the regulator the reactor meets the standards. but it pointed to an accident that took the lives of five workers. they were killed when high pressu steam leaked from a damaged pipe. the regulator has urged kansai electric power, the plant operator, to keep checking for
facility decay. the reactor has been offline since 2011. kansai electric says it needs more additional safety before going back online. that will be after march 2020. architecture expresses its times. in cultural life, people's optimism and energy emerged in modernist buildings. >> a modernist church that's laid out like a cross. a capsule apartment complex. and a gymnasium from the 1964 olympics shaped like a giant
snail. around 2,000 such buildings once dotted japan. but their preservation today presents a challenge. so does their earthquake resistance to meet new safety standards. many owners must decide whether to pay for preservation or tear a building down. >> reporter: ginza is tokyo's premier shopping district. one structure here attracts a stream of tourists from around the world. the tower looks like a stack of children's building blocks. built in 1972, the capsules were intended as second homes for businessmen. by 1970s standards, it was a most advanced lifestyle.
there's a ten meter square living space, a stereo tape desk, and home appliances. the slogan was an elite dream retreat. when the resident of this unit saw a picture of the tower, it was love at first sight. he jumped at the chance to move in. >> translator: they don't make spaces with this kind of aesthetic anymore. but here you can still feel what an energetic time it was. >> reporter: however, many of the capsules have fallen into disrepair. ceilings collapsed as leaky roofs let in rain water. some connection points of the capsules are at risk of failing. if nothing is done, units might
fall. on top of that, inspectors two years ago said it fails current standards for earthquake resistance. the owner of the building is caught between calls to tear it down and pressure to preserve it. >> translator: rather than continue paying maintenance fees, i have another idea. i think we should just rebuild. but we hear so many different opinions about this question. >> reporter: slowly but surely, the wrecking ball is claiming japan's modernist structures. one place this is being felt is the city of takamatsu in southwestern japan. this gymnasium was designed by tange. it evokes a ship floating in the air. in a survey of 20th century
>> this is "france 24." these headlines. government bombs rebel strongholds in aleppo for the first time in a month. this after syrian president says donald trump can be a natural lives up to his pledge to fight terrorists. trump shakes up his transition team again. a national security expert is out, and outreach is going over