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. japan's prime minister says he will lift some sanctions against north korea once it starts investigating the fate of japanese abducted decades ago. china's president is visiting south korea for the first time since taking office. xi jinping is looking to boost diplomatic and economic ties. and as indonesian voters weigh their options ahead of a presidential election, we look
at joko widodo, the candidate pushing to redefine politics in the nation. leaders from japan and north korea are taking steps to move the abductions issue forward. officials in tokyo confirmed that north korea's special committee will have full access while probing the fate of japanese people abducted by the north and they'll also lift some sanctions against pyongyang once the investigation starts. japanese chief cabinet secretary yoshihide suga announced when the sanctions will be eased. >> translator: officials in pyongyang are scheduled to set up a special investigative committee and start a comprehensive and thorough probe into all japanese remaining in the country on friday. at that time, we will lift some of the sanctions against north korea. >> suga said the officials from the two countries have agreed to
aim r north korea's first report on the probe by late summer or early autumn. he also said the north has agreed to expedite the process. they're aiming to complete the investigation in one year. suga says they've evaluated the north's panel. he called the group adequate. >> translator: the special investigative committee has been given a special authority by the highest organ of the state, the national defense commission, to investigate all relevant organizations. >> suga says having members from the defense ministry and the secret police enhances the committee's powers. experts say top officials of the secret police are very close to leader kim jong-un. suga said the special committee will have several subcommittees. they'll be responsible for looking into matters such as japanese nationals who are missing and japanese remains in north korea. he also said that sending delegations to the north to cooperate with the country's investigators is an option, but
he denied that prime minister abe will make a visit. the japanese government will lift three sanctions on pyongyang. they cover restrictions on travel, port calls by ships and money transfers. but government officials remain concerned about the north's nuclear and missile develop programs. they'll keep an asset freeze in place based upon a u.n. security council resolution. suga emphasized that the sanctions they are about to lift were based on their own policy, and that won't affect their stance of solving the north's nuclear or missile programs through cooperation with the u.s. and south korea. north korea's envoy for normalizing relations with japan song il ho says his country is ready to begin its full fledged probe. song told reporters that delegates had a fruitful discussion in beijing on tuesday. he explained how the north will proceed with the fresh investigation into abductees and
missing japanese nationals. >> translator: japanese chief cabinet secretary suga said he wants the investigation to be finished within a year. we remember this time frame. we will immediately start our probe and report the results. >> south korean and chinese officials have reacted favorably to the talks and their outcome. south korea's foreign ministry sent in a statement that the abductions are a humanitarian issue and the country looks forward to an early settlement. the ministry added that transparency is needed for talks and the lifting of some sanctions. they should not undermine coordination among south korea, u.s. and japan on the north's nuclear and missile programs. the chinese minister their spokesperson was also positive. he said china hopes japan and north korea will improve their relations through talks and
build regional peace and stability. the father of one of the abductees sounded an optimistic note on abe's announcement. he said a fresh outcome to the issue is possible because the new investigation committee has the backing of the north's high-profile government bodies. >> translator: north korea says his daughter did is dead. >> translator: north korea surely has all the data on the eight abductees it says are dead. so i think it can verify what is true and what is not, if they have the will to do so. >> yokota said he wants to continue to try to bring the abductees back home as he believes his daughter is still alive. >> the leaders of china and south korea have met face to face in seoul. they confirm the two countries
will work closely together in dealing with the north korea nuclear issue. chinese president xi jinping began a two-day visit to south korea and met president park. they later held a joint news conference. she said the two countries should become partners to protect peace in asia. he also set there are still many uncertain factors about the north korean nuclear issue. >> translator: i support the efforts to make progress in realizing a nuclear-free korean peninsula through dialogue at the six-party talks and other opportunities. >> translator: we have agreed north korea's denuclearization must be achieved, and we firmly oppose the north's nuclear tests. >> they issued a joint statement saying they had confirmed their stance of opposing nuclear weapons development on the korean peninsula. a south korea official says it is the first time the leaders of the two nations have stated
their opposition to the north's nuclear arms development in a document. xi has taken an unprecedented step for a top chinese leader. he is visiting south korea before traveling to pyongyang, china's long-time ally. one of the main items on the agenda is strengthening economic ties. nhk work's daisuke azuma reports. >> reporter: since becoming president last year, xi jinping has taken a serious and diplomatic step toward neighboring countries. one day ahead of xi's arrival in the south, the north fired two rockets into the sea of japan. observers think china will be careful not to irritate north korea too much for fear of triggering an extreme reaction. >> translator: i believe china notified north korea of the visit in advance, as always, and i think the north launched
its rockets to remind both china and south korea of its presence and revive tensions on the peninsula. >> reporter: china also wants to send bilateral economic cooperation by finalizing a free trade agreement with the south, which it hopes will boost investment. the port city of qingdao is pinning its hopes on the two sides signing an agreement. since bilateral diplomatic relations were established in 1992, it's been a stepping stone for south korean businesses entering the chinese market. many chinese people calling ancestry who speak korean have moved to qingdao from northeast china in search of jobs. this street was named after a south korean company.
many factories are located here, and they employed many workers, but the situation is changing. china's strong economic growth has led to higher labor costs, forcing some companies to pull out of the city. figures show that the number of south korean companies in qingdao dropped 20% during 2013. many restaurants have had to close. >> translator: there are fewer factories, and those that are left are small or midsized businesses. in the last two or three years, our sales have dropped by half. >> reporter: if the two countries do sign a free trade agreement, duties will be eliminated in many areas. qingdao officials hope this will lead to a rebound in south korean investment, since they still have a large korean speaking population.
professor xi yuanhua believes an agreement will also have an important strategic value. >> translator: if there is progress toward a free trade agreement between china and south korea, it will strengthen the ftas china has with asean countries. this will be an asset in the future, as a counterbalance to the trans-pacific partnership between the u.s. and japan. . iraqi government forces are stepping up their air strikes against insurgents around the country. they are reportedly concealing themselves among civilians. a military spokesperson says troops had carried out 121 air raids across the country during the past 24 hours. the official reported their targets had included insurgents holding the northern city of
tikrit and said that government forces had gained the upper hand. security authorities say sunni insurgents have used anti-aircraft guns to shoot down government helicopters and they say militants are hiding among civilians to avoid being targeted. they say they are getting help from sunni tribes that oppose the shia government. they fought in the holy city of karbala. at least 45 were killed. analysts say that proves that shias are not only fighting against sunnis but also with each other. a security official in myanmar says two were killed earlier this week in a sectarian riot in mandalay. the announcement was made on thursday. we have more. >> a series of violent clashes has erupted in myanmar between majority buddhists and minority muslims since 2012.
more than 240 people have been killed. >> the latest riot broke out in central mandalay on tuesday night and raged on until early wednesday. several hundred people turned up armed with clubs and knives. police used rubber bullets to disperse them. reuters quotes an army colonel as saying two people were killed and 14 injured. news reports say the riot was triggered by internet rumors that a muslim tea shop owner had raped a buddhist woman. conflicts between the two communities have intensified in the last two years. tens of thousands of people have lost their homes and are living as evacuees. myanmar is emerging from half a century of military rule and is reforming under the president who took office in 2011.
but raging sectarian violence could undermine this infant democracy. in india, a new high-speed train broke the country's speed record when it ran on thursday between the capital new delhi and agra, home to the taj mahal. dubbed the semibullet the train hit 160 kilometers per hour. thcar e ten-ain broke the old speed record by 10 kilometers per hour. the taj mahal, a world heritage site, is a major tourist attraction. >> translator: this will make people very happy because time will be saved. we will reach our destinations quickly. they are nice facilities too and it's air conditioned. >> translator: i am hopeful that with commencement of this train tourism, particularly foreign tourism, will get a boost. >> india boasts an extensive
railway network since the time of british rule, but it is plagued by accidents. the government has been working hard to upgrade the aging system. once commercialized, the semibullet will shorten travel from new delhi to agra by 30 minutes. the journey currently takes two hours. the authorities are aiming to launch the service by november. indonesians are weighing a choice between the old and new guard as they prepare to vote in a presidential election next wednesday. the old in this tight race is 62-year-old prabowo subianto. he's a former military general with ties to the late president. the new is 53-year-old joko widodo, the governor of jakarta, a former city mayor and a businessman. joko wasn't a national figure until recently. he's pushing to change
indonesian politics. nhk world jun yatsumoto looks at who he is and where he came from. >> reporter: hands-on, scandal-free, poverty fighter. that's how joko widodo's supporters describe him. >> translator: we hope in this campaign that all people will feel happy. because the democracy we're going to put into practice is democracy for the welfare of the people. >> reporter: joko has been governor of jakarta since 2012. more than 9 million people live in the indonesian capital. one of the challenges widodo has tackled is this reservoir. it used to cause severe floods every year, and people living in surrounding areas suffered. 7,000 families used to live around the water.
joko's administration relocated them to public housing, and it turned the area into a park. people who moved to apartments say they're happy with what the government did. >> translator: this is the first time the government has given attention to small people like us. before joko, there was nothing like this. >> reporter: we traveled to his hometown of surakarta in central java. joko grew up in the flood-prone riverside area. he lived in this modest house with his parents and siblings for 16 years. a stark contrast to other indonesian leaders. his mother told me that as a boy joko collected and cut logs for his father, a wood seller.
>> translator: my son was always hanging out with his peers since he was young. not with rich kids. >> reporter: joko studied hard and went to university, then set up his own furniture manufacturing operation. his uncle mino says joko was gifted in helping local craftsmen get international exposure. >> translator: joko had the quality of empowering small businessmen with no experience of exporting. he opened the export market for them. he was the one selling their products. >> reporter: joko became mayor of surakarta in 2005. he built new traditional markets
and rebranded the old city as a center of javanese culture. the current mayor was joko's deputy. he says, if elected, joko would bring a new era of politics, free of preferential treatment. >> translator: there's no nepotism. joko is a lesson for indonesia. in the future, it will not have to be party leaders who become president. >> reporter: joko's main rival, subianto, has a bigger national profile. he has a long military background and carries himself like a political heavyweight. his family is a part of the elite, and he was married to a daughter of late president suharto who ruled the country for 31 years.
political analyst paul rowland says many indonesians have yet to decide which candidate to vote for. >> there is a very different choice between a more managerial approach to government, looking at problems and trying to solve them, and a more sort of leadership focused approach, which is more trust me and i will lead indonesia into a better place. >> reporter: indonesians have enjoyed economic growth and relative stability during the decade under the rule of president susilo bambang yudhoyono. in many ways, they know what to expect from subiano. voting for joko would be more of a risk. we'll see next week if it's one they are willing to take. jun yotsumoto, nhk world, jakarta. and that wraps up our bulletin. i'm dhra dhirakaosal in bangkok.
americans are seeing a boost in job opportunities these days. employers in the nonfarm sector added more than 200,000 new positions for the fifth straight month and the jobless rate also improved. u.s. labor department officials say the nonfarm sector added 288,000 jobs in june. the figure was much better than a markers consensus of 210,000. employment increased in the health care, food, retail and auto industries. and the officials revised the figure for jobs added in april from 282,000 to 304,000. the unemployment rate for june stood at 6.1%, 0.2 percentage points lower than the previous month and the lowest level since september 2008. the upbeat data lifted
investor sentiment on wall street. the dow jones hit a new record high of 17,000 in early trading on thursday. japan's nissan motor has built a second plant in thailand. that is despite slowing demand amid political turmoil in the country. the opening ceremony for the factory outside bangkok was held on thursday. nissan plans to produce up to 150,000 units of new model pickup trucks annually at the plant. these will be for the markets in thailand and other southeast asian countries. nissan's move is bucking other japanese makers in the country which are now trying to slow production. the end of a government subsidy program for buying new cars added to the damped consumer market. the ministry released the figures for settlement of state
the ministry released the figures for settlement of state finances in the fiscal year that ended march. tax revenues total $460 billion. this is more than $15 billion more than the earliest mat. a weeker yen helped to boost corporate earnings. as for national spending, lower than estimated interest rates reduced interest payments on government bonds. that helped to leave $16 billion in the state coffers. though the country's finances are still heavily dependent on government bonds their issuance in 2013 amounted to 4$426 billion. every morning investors turn our attention to asia, the tokyo
markets leads the way. and markets around the world follow. >> from the decisions that could change the course of an economy. >> to the companies at the forefront of change. >> up to the minute market reports. >> and analysis by specialists from around the world. >> get all the latest business news and insight every day here on "newsline." heavy rains are turning streets into rivers in western japan. robert speta, our meteorologist, is here with the details. robert? >> yes. what we have been seeing throughout the day is this very large low pressure area pushing across south korea and then over to western japan and now pushing into central portions of japan. and it's been causing a slew of problems all along the way here. actually, i do want to take you back toward the west into kyushu where you've been seeing the heavy rainfall. upwards of 226 millimeters fell on the ground. we actually have video coming out of this area where that rain caused some significant flooding earlier on thursday.
definitely a slow-go for many of the cars out on the road if they did not get stuck altogether. it is not just that. take a look. some people having to wade through the water up above their ankles. that's the problem. when you get too much rain in too short of a time period, it causes some flooding. not only slow-go on the roads but trains were delayed. we even saw one station flipped over due to the heavy rainfall. this is something we are going to be watching as that low does push off toward the northeast. bringing those showers at this time across tokai region and going through friday morning into the plain as much as 150 to 200 millimeters is very well likely out here as that pushes overhead. friday night into saturday morning, it will be tapering off. that low is going to get a move on. still could see afternoon thunderstorms by saturday, but for the most part that will be weakening out. back toward the west in central and eastern china, showers still coming down out here following a
flooding due to that same storm system. as much as 130 millimeters going through the next 24 hours. south of that, i do want to talk about the tropics in the western pacific. we have a low just off the coast of the philippines. that is playing a part in enhancing the monsoon, but also this low will be doing the same. it is a tropical depression at this time. but in the near future, i would not be surprised if this becomes a tropical storm that will be called gurdy once it does so as it does push off toward the northwest. but both of these will have an effect on the enhancement of the monsoon across the philippines and very well could cause some flooding, already reports of flooding in the manila here on your thursday afternoon into the evening hours. for now, temperatures up to 33 degrees there. 28 in shanghai and beijing at 29 here on your friday. let's move over towards europe now and really rather basic in the east. we are actually looking at sunny conditions across much of the area. it's back toward the west and
the iberian peninsula where an upper-level low is feeding moisture out of the mediterranean. cold air aloft is erupting a few thunderstorms. some areas, large hail, damaging winds and the possibility is there of tornadoes as well. if you have travel plans across this area, just be ready for some of those storms to really erupt going through your day here on your friday and even on your saturday morning. paris some thunderstorms for you. london a little cooler actually al 24. cold air coming in the north. both of these locations will be seeing temps in the low 20s, possibly the high teens as we round out your weekend. now we're going to end up with the tropics in the atlantic. this is hurricane arthur pushing off toward the north. already mandatory evacuations are in place in the outer cape in north carolina. potential of damaging winds and heavy rains going through the next several days. that's a look at your weather. here's the extended outlook.
♪ osaka is a major commercial and cultural hub. it's known for its lively entertainment districts and its inexpensive, tasty eats. >> unmistakably osaka. there's a power and energy here unlike any other town in japan. what a wonderful place to be tonight. but on this week's journeys in japan we're not going to see this face of osaka. >> david bull is a local based