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. experts are urging part of japan's prominent research center to disband after misconduct by one of its stem cell scientists. chinese and japanese defense officials are trading accusations that their planes buzzed each other. and experts are raising a red flag over a popular food. they are warning that the japanese eel population is rapidly declining.
experts are calling for major reforms at one of japan's major research centers. the riken institute has been hit by a stem cell scandal. members of an independent panel say part of the center should be disbanded. riken determined that a researcher conducted misconduct in publishing studies on what she called stap cells in the british journal "nature." >> translator: the stap cell issue was not just a problem with one researcher. there was an organizational and structural problem at the center for developmental biology. the center must be disbanded. if it's restarted, it should have entirely new leadership. >> the members also accused
riken's headquarters are not trying hard enough to uncover the truth about what happened. they urged the institute to strictly punish the people who were responsible. they want riken to investigate all the suspicions raised so far about the credibility of obokataa research. they recommend that obokata conduct experiments to prove her claims about stap cells under the supervision of more experienced scientists. chinese defense officials are denying an accusation one their fighter jets buzzed planes from japan. and they are leveling a similaration at the japanese. they released a video they claim is evidence. staff at china's defense ministry put 90 seconds of footage online. they say two japanese fighters flew 30 minutes from a patrol aircraft. they claim that seriously affected their crew's safety. japan's defense minister onodera rejected those accusations.
>> translator: i've seen the video but it doesn't show the incident as claimed by the chinese. the video shows japan's self-defense force jets keeping their distance and flying steadily. i think the chinese may have released it. because of a feeling of guilt about the incident. >> all the planes were flying where the chinese and japanese air defense zones overlap. defense staff in tokyo had reported a different incident there on the same day. they said a chinese fighter flew dangerously close to two of their planes. japan's defense minister said the two countries need to set up a system for communication between their defense personnel. japan's chief government spokesperson has outlined how leaders could ease their pressure on north korea. he says they may lift three sanctions at the same time but they'll only do it if officials in pyongyang start examining their abduction of japanese
nationals. they promised last month to launch a full investigation. they said they'll try to figure out what happened to the people their agents grabbed in the 1970s and '80s. leaders in tokyo said they'd lift three sanctions in return. those sanctions cover travel between japan and north korea, port calls for humanitarian purposes, and transfers of money. >> translator: when we've determined that the north koreans have conducted concrete investigation, we'll lift the announced three sanctions at the same time. >> suga also addressed speculation about the possibility of a visit to north korea by prime minister shinzo abe. he said it's too soon to even talk about it. islamist militants linked to al qaeda are advancing deeper into iraq. they've captured the second
largest city, mosul, and they vow to keep pressing on further south. nhk world's sachiko takeda has more. >> reporter: the militants belong to the group called the islamic state in iraq in the levant. they attacked government offices, police stations and other buildings in mosul. about half a million people have reportedly fled. the militants overran the consulate general of turkey, and they took about 50 people hostage including the consulate general. >> translator: any harm to our citizens or staff would be met with the harshest retaliation. >> reporter: u.n. secretary general ban ki-moon and members of the security council have denounced the militants' actions. >> i'm condemning in the strongest possible terms such terrorist attack against diplomatic officers. >> reporter: the spokesperson for the u.s. state department says secretary of state john kerry discussed the situation with turkey's foreign minister.
>> we are in touch with the governments of turkey and iraq and stand ready to provide any appropriate assistance. >> reporter: iraq's prime minister says military commanders will launch an operation to contain the insurgents. western diplomatic socialists say nuri al maliki has requested help from the u.s. they say he has asked white house officials to consider using drones for military air strikes. the militants have been fighting against government forces in syria. president bashar al assad issued a statement calling them terrorists. and he said his government is ready to cooperate with iraqi leaders to fight their common enemy. the militants are advancing into other iraqi cities. from mosul they swept south to baiji and forced iraq's largest oil refinery to shut down. then they moved into tikrit, the birthplace of former president saddam hussein. the militants said in a
statement they plan to escalate their fight further in baghdad. analysts say the militants appear to be preparing for a full-fledged assault on the iraqi capital. sachiko takeda, nhk world. u.s. defense secretary chuck hagel has defended a controversial prisoner exchange with the taliban. hagel said any delay in freeing sergeant bowe bergdahl could have endangered his life. bergdahl was released last month from five years of captivity in afghanistan. in exchange the united states freed five senior taliban members detained at the u.s. prison in guantanamo bay. u.s. lawmakers have criticized the administration of president barack obama for not notifying congress in advance as required by law. hagel testified about the deal before the house armed services committee. >> as the opportunity to obtain sergeant bergdahl's release became clear, we grew increasingly concerned that any
delay or any leaks could derail the deal and further endanger sergeant bergdahl. >> he said a leak could also have exposed u.s. military personnel conducting the handover to an ambush or other deadly scenarios in taliban controlled territory. he said president obama made the final decision to move forward. many diners in japan count eel among their favorite food, but they're being warned by experts to conserve the fish. the international union for conservation of nature has classified the japanese eel as an endangered species. nhk world's takafumi terui reports. >> reporter: it's been a long japanese tradition to eat unagi, or eel. plans written in the eighth
century state eel was considered good for stamina. many people consider eel cuisine as one of the premium dishes for the summer. so the news that japanese eels are on the red list is causing concern with diners across japan. >> translator: it's so delicious. i'd be shocked if eels are banned. >> translator: for us japanese, eels are a familiar food on our tables. i am very surprised to hear the species is in such danger. >> reporter: biologist kenzo kaifu is a member of the expert group that contributed to the international union for conservation of nature's decision to add japanese eel to the list. >> the decision to enlisting japanese eels as endangered species seems reasonable to me. in my opinion, they should have
been on the red list perhaps ten years ago, even before. >> reporter: fishermen are catching fewer eels every year. four decades ago, they hauled in over 3,000 tons annually. now the number has gone down to less than one-tenth of that amount. kaifu has been chasing the migrant fish for years. adult eels are caught in rivers and lakes. but nobody ever really knew where they were born until recently. in 2009, researchers discovered spawns of japanese eel here in an area around the west mariana ridge in the pacific ocean. baby eels are carried westwards by ocean currents to waters around taiwan, china, the korean peninsula and japan. kaifu says one main reason for the rapid eel population decline could be global warming.
he points out river banks covered in concrete may be another factor. and he suspects overfishing is also to blame. eel is a highly profitable fish. they are caught young and sold to farms in east asian countries. >> japanese eels are caught not just in japan, but china, south korea and taiwan. in these countries, eel farming and fishing started growing dramatically since 1970s. >> reporter: the red list does not automatically regulate or ban fishing. but kaifu believes that now is the time for nations in the region to cooperate on conservation and sustainable use of the endangered fish. kaifu says the decline of the eel population may cause conflicts among various stakeholders from fishermen to consumers.
>> not only are we seeing one country but also among the country of east asia, in order to solve conflict among stakeholders, adequate and efficient information sharing is needed. the international -- is there, but not enough. >> reporter: next month an information sharing workshop will be held for the stakeholders in japan. kaifu hopes that it'll be the first step towards conserving a fish that's been on japanese tables for centuries. takafumi terui, nhk world, tokyo. the united states has conducted its first drone strikes this year in pakistan. the strikes targeting the bases of a radical islamist group left 16 people dead. dhra dhirakaosal reports from bangkok. >> the drone strikes were carried out in north waziristan where the pakistani taliban, the
largest islamist group in pakistan, is holed up. they came three days after the group attacked the country's international airport in karachi. according to a pakistani security official, two missiles targeted a compound wednesday night killing six people. early thursday six more missiles hit another compound in the same area killing ten people. the pakistani government says it seems the targeted compounds are insurgent bases. pakistan's government had repeatedly asked the u.s. to halt drone strikes because they violate pakistani sovereignty. the drones went silent at the end of last year, but the strikes now appear to have restarted. sunday's brazen attack by the pakistani taliban on the karachi airport appears to have triggered the strikes. on tuesday the pakistani military also carried out air strikes in the north waziristan region.
some now fear retaliation by the radical group. hours before the world cup kicks off in brazil, football fans in thailand have been given a break. a last-minute decision means the soccer-mad country can watch all 64 world cup games for free. a court earlier ruled that most of the games would be on pay tv only, effectively barring millions of poor people from watching. >> translator: we will provide an opportunity for thai people to watch the entire 2014 world cup tournament in brazil nationwide. >> broadcasters in thailand held a news conference on thursday to announce the decision. thailand's broadcasting commission said it had agreed to pay $13 million to the company that owns the tv rights to the tournament. the decision means all the games, including 42 that were to be aired only on cable channels,
will now be screened for free. the previous day a thai court had dismissed a petition demanding the company show the entire tournament on terrestrial tv. millions of poor thais cannot afford to pay cable viewing fees. reports say the military hunta that took over the country three weeks ago stepped in. afp news agency says a military spokesman denied forcing the change, but he admitted asking the broadcasting commission to solve the issue. observers say the intervention is a populous measure by the hunta upon millions of disappointed soccer fans. now from soccer to coffee. thai people love their daily brew. domestic coffee producers traditionally dominate the market, but foreign coffee shop chains are becoming popular. thai farmers are turning to japanese experts to improve the quality of their products. nhk world's hirosuga takata reports.
>> reporter: this store brews coffee using beans produced in thailand. it's done with condensed milk, making it very sweet. but recently, thais have been shying away from local brews. foreign companies are hugely expanding operations here. >> translator: coffee served here is pricier than at stores, but i prefer the higher quality because it makes me happy. >> reporter: many people believe that foreign beans are higher quality. so local farmers are trying to produce better beans. they have turned to experts from japan. yoshiaki kawashima advises
coffee plantations around the world. his advice starts with basic know-how. kawashima started seeding the soil of rocks to prepare a good seed bed. the stones stop seedlings from firmly taking root. >> translator: the rocks and the soil are quite big so i felt sorry for the farmers. but i told them to do it again. >> reporter: he then advised the growers to trim tall trees to let sunlight come through to the coffee trees. he also told them how to encourage the growth of young branches by bending trees. >> translator: i'll make the most of the lessons i learned today. coffee yields are falling but they will rise with the right method. >> translator: i've given advice in various parts of the world.
thai farmers are fast learners and industrious. if they listen, the average quality of their coffee will greatly improve, but the challenge is for them to grow the finest quality beans. >> reporter: this is tomahiro ishiwaki, an expert on producing coffee beans. he demonstrates how to get the best taste from the beans. he brewed coffee using freshly harvested beans, dried in several different ways. he wants to show that drying methods alone can change the taste and aroma. >> it has some acidity and also the sweetness, so it's very interesting how different processing methods can bring out different flavors and aroma of
the coffee. >> translator: as i expected, i have been able to produce a unique, very fruity flavor which doesn't exist in traditional thai coffee. i'm convinced that thais will like the taste. >> reporter: thai coffee farmers are working hard on the quality of their products. their struggle to preserve thailand's traditional coffee culture has just begun. with japanese help. hirosuga takata, nhk world, bangkok. >> and that wraps up our bulletin. i'm dhra dhirakaosal in bangkok. some people who run travel agencies in china are struggling to stay afloat. they get much of their business from vietnam, but they've seen relations deteriorate over a
territorial dispute, and their sales have plummeted. nhk world's shun ishibe reports. >> reporter: the city of dongxing in the south of china. on the other side of the river is vietnam. there are many stores selling food and vegetables and other foods brought in from across the border. many people still remember when this border area was the battleground between the two countries. the sino-vietnamese war broke out in 1979 following vietnam's invasion of cambodia. after the two countries re-established ties in 1991, trade between them grew rapidly. in the ten years through 2013,
bilateral trade has increased by 14-fold to more than $65 billion. the two sides agreed to ease visa requirements in both directions. this led to a surge in the number of people crossing the border here. there are more than 30 travel agencies in the city catering to chinese tourists who want to visit vietnam. but few of them are open now here in this travel center. the local government has ordered travel agents not to allow tirist -- tourists to sign up for sightseeing trips to vietnam. the reason is that chinese tourists may come under attack if they visit vietnam. this travel agency has expanded since last year, and the number of tourists rose. its workforce grew to over 30, but now it's had to lay off most
of them. this is affecting its profits. >> translator: this is a small city with a population of just 130,000. how can 30 travel agents stay in business? >> here in the chinese city that serves as a gateway to vietnam, the growing hostility between the two countries is starting to have a big economic impact. shun ishibe, nhk world, dongxing. severe storms are possible in the southern united states. our meteorologist jonathan oh is here with the forecast. jonathan? >> hello. a low pressure system is making its way across the southern and central plains. you can see here the clouds billowing up along with this particular system. and i am concerned that in places like texas, oklahoma into arkansas and louisiana you may be seeing wind gusts up to 100 kilometers per hour. it will be a pretty strong system along with the
possibility some of hail. definitely keep an eye out for this system as you go throughout your thursday. i want to draw your attention to this spinning system down here in the southern portion of mexico. at least off the coast of mexico. this is hurricane cristina. if is a category 4 storm. you can see in the last frame a little visible eye and that is indicating a very powerful storm. the good news is it's continuing to push toward the west-northwest away from mexico so it looks like it will not have any land impacts. but we are continuing to monitor this low pressure system east of texas. continuing to push eastward. and ahead of it, very warm air moving all the way up into canada. and that's going to destabilize the atmosphere which means more rain and more thunderstorms anywhere from toronto into new york, all the way down into miami. so be prepared to get wet if you don't have the umbrella handy. 24 in toronto. 22 in new york for our high on thursday. 31 in miami. meanwhile, over on the west coast, specifically down towards southern california, very dry conditions opening up the
possibility of some possible fire danger weather once again. please make sure you take caution with that. we take a look at the forecast in europe, and you can see the clouds now continuing to move toward the south. this is associated with the cold front that produced some severe storms earlier this week with hail as large as 7 centimeters in diameter. now the intensity of this particular front is starting to weaken but not without still producing the possibility of some severe weather north of italy all the way into the eastern portions of europe. be prepared to get some wet weather. behind this system, high pressure is developing. and that's going to help bring sunnier conditions and also temperatures moving into the 30s in some parts. once again we'll still be dealing with a trough and cold front bringing precipitation into the southern portions of europe. 25 for our high in paris. 33 in madrid. from stockholm to warsaw into moscow, the possibility of some
rain and thunderstorms for friday. we also now take a look at east asia, and we have this very long line of clouds stretching all the way into japan. a low pressure system is in the northern portions of japan. and because of that it is dragging in very cold air from the upper layers of the atmosphere. destabilizing the weather. so some severe weather is possible for japan going into friday. and so please make sure you keep an eye out for that. another low pressure system developing toward the philippines may become tropical. regardless of whether it is tropical or not, a lot of rain associated with this from taiwan all the way into the philippines, specifically into luzon. up to 350 millimeters of rain possible for the next 72 hours. finally, we wrap things up with a look at brazil as the world cup kicks off for thursday. in sao paulo, the game between brazil and croatia looking pretty dry with highs in the mid-20s. if you are traveling for the friday games, you'll need to have your umbrella because temperatures, while they are going to be mild, it's also going to be a bit wet.
two sites in japan to a list of reserves known as ecoparks. they have designated the southern alps mountain range and a forest in fukushima prefecture. the southern alps cover a 300,000-hectare region of central japan. the mountains are home to many indigenous animals and plants. unesco officials what's called give biosphere reserve status to sites that try to harmonize human activity with environmental preservation. >> translator: ten municipalities in the southern alps region will work to create an area that promotes co-existence with nature. >> the tadami site in fukushima stretches over nearly 80,000 hectares in northeastern japan. the diverse natural environment includes a beech tree forest. japan has five other unesco biosphere reserves. and that's "newsline" for this hour. i'm gene otani in tokyo. from all of us here at nhk world, thanks for joining us.