from our studios here in tokyo, this is "newsline," i'm james tengan, here are some of the stories we're following this hour. taiwanese authorities are looking into the possibility that gas hit underground pipes may have triggered deadly explosions. a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire is in effect in gaza as delegates from israel and hamas meet in cairo to negotiate a more permanent truce. and, on our testing japan's english series, we show you students in remote village
learning english through songs and games from a young age. rescuers report hundreds of casualties after a series of explosions ripped through taiwan's second largest city, the powerful blast in kaohsiung took place and 24 people were killed and 271 others were injured. nhk has more from te >> reporter: a large part of the street has caved in. this shows how intense the explosions were. cars have been flipped over. and there's rubble everywhere. an unknown number of firefighters are said to be among the injured. >> translator: suddenly i heard an explosion and the ground split open. i hurt my arm and knee.
>> translator: i've never seen anything like this before. it looks like the street was bombed. >> reporter: residents say the blasts were loud. they say the ground shook like an earthquake. >> authorities are looking into the cause of the explosions, local media say the blasts may have been triggered by vaporized chemical substances that escaped from underground pip. the explosions were felt over a three square kilometer area. the district consists of commercial and residential buildings. kaohsiung officials say shortly before the explosions, residents smell bhad they thought was gas. firefighters were checking for a possible gas leak when the blasts occurred. local media say pipes used by oil and gas companies run beneath the si israeli forces and fighters from hamas have set down their arms and entered a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire and they're hoping it's the start of a longer t
u.n. secretary general ban ki-moon and u.s. secretary of state john kerry made the announcement. hamas said they're acknowledging a call by the u.n. and considering the people of gaza. delegates from israel and hamas are expected to start negotiations in cairo. the talks mediated by egyptian officials. israel is expected to demand the demilitarization of gaza and the destruction of militants' infiltration tunnels. hamas is likely to demand the economic blockade imposed on gaza be lifted. if the negotiations collapse, the 72-hour truce could be broken. u.s. secretary of state john kerry has urged all parties involved to focus on finding the road ahead following the truce agreement. >> everyone knows that it will not be easy, even to get beyond this point. but it is imperative that people make the best effort to try to find common ground and do so. >> he also said the u.s. government will send its representative to the
negotiations in cairo. the university of tokyo has concluded that a former professor, one of japan's leading molecular biologists ordered the cover-up of data tampering in more than 40 research papers. shigeaki kato was a professor at the university's institute of institute of molecular and bi he and his team are accused of manipulating images in experimental results in 43 papers. the articles covered topics such as bone for mags and hormone activity. a university panel examined five of the articles and released findings on friday. it said kato and three sword yats engaged in misconduct. the panel said it was unable to confirm that kato was directly involved in the manipulation. but it concluded that his high-handed approach and insistence in ideal results led to the misconduct. it sai he ordered additional
tampering with image data and the faking of laboratory notebooks after a scientific journal raised suspicions. the panel said kato's three subordinates manipulated the data and fabricated notes. as a leading researcher, kato received about $30 million in research funding from the education ministry and other government organizations. the university says it will investigate the remaining . the japanese government has announced the official names of 158 uninhabited remote islands to govern them more adequately. including five of the senkaku islands in the east china sea. there are about 500 remote islands that serve as the basis for setting the boundaries of japan's territorial waters. 158 of them have been unnamed until no the government decided to call two of the senkaku islands in okinawa prefecture and three
others. japan controls the senkaku islands, china and taiwan claim them. the government chose the official names partly with an eye on china's growing maritime presence, including in the east china sea. officials posted the names on the website of the headquarters for ocean policy on friday. in 2012, the government officially named four of the senkaku islands that serve as the basis for setting the boundaries for japan's exclusive economic zone. china sharply criticized the. to the latest in business now, japan's industry minister plans to visit ukraine next week. motegi will meet the ukraine minister of coal industry to discuss how japan can help improve the country's thermal will leave for kiev on monday for a visit.
he's to offer japan's assistance for raising the efficiency of power generation at ukraine's aging coal-fired plants. the two ministers are set to sign a memorandum that will call for japanese experts to visit the country for first-hand inspections to assess ukraine's needs. the nation relies on russian natural gas for 30% of its domestic energy supply. a key challenge for ukraine is how to reduce that dependence with the effective use of domestic coal resources. japan also expects its assistance to eventually help its own technology exports and infrastructure sales. a group of seven nations are stepping up their energy assistance for ukraine in the wake of the crimea crisis. as well as the unrest in ukraine itself. the u.s. government plans to help develop shale gas in the country. the head of japan's central bank said the bank will monitor the effects of the consumption tax hike in april on the nation's economy. corrodo said this in a speech in
tokyo. he noted that the economy is still seeing a moderate recovery trend. >> translator: consumer spending remains firm even after the tax hike. in the background is an improvement in employment and the income environment. >> well kuroda predicted that the impact of the drop in the consumer demand following the tax increase will start gradually waning this summer. he added that the boj will keep an eye on future developments. he said this is because the decline in real income due to the higher tax may affect personal spend let's check the markets now. sharp losses in the global stock markets prompting investors to sell shares across asia today. major indices as you can see all finishing lower. market players taking the chance to lock in some profits from recent rallies that we've seen. sydney's key index slid the most in four and a half months in fact today gave up nearly 1.4%, finishing at 5556, a level not
seen in more than a week. it pulled back from a six-year closing high that it hit on thursday. investors sold a broad range of shares, such as banks and resource companies. here in tokyo, the nikkei average seeing declines, fell more than .6%, 15, 523. still, some investors picked up stocks on solid earnings from firms like sony. in china, the shanghai composite seeing declines of .75%, 2,185. investors taking a breather after the index's recent strong rise, some encouraged by manufacturing data, the official index for the country's factory activity did see an improvement in july. in fact it marked a 27-month high. back in japan, new car sales fell in july for the first time in two months. officials say the decline was a reaction to the brisk sales before the consumption tax went up in april. auto industry officials said more than 460,000 new vehicles
were sold last month, slipping 2.5% year on year. sales of passenger cars, including mini vehicles, edged up 0.6%, due to the introduction of new models. mini vehicles showed a 7.1% decline, the first fall in 13 months. officials note that the market hasn't fully recovered from the impact of the sales tax hike. but they expect demand to start picking up in september when car makers plan to roll out some new models. well the people over at japanese mobile phone firm softbank have spent months working on a deal to buy t-mobile. it appears they have a fight on their hands, executives at french firm iliad say they've offered $15 billion for more than half the shares in t-mobile, which is the fourth biggest carrier. last year the people at softbank took over the third biggest firm, sprint. want to use sprint to acquire t-mobile. but regulators are reportedly reluctant to give the deal the green light.
worried that the merger could reduce competition. now iliad executives say their offer won't cause the same problem. they don't have any operations in united states. executives at sony say competitors in china are eating into their share of the mobile phone business. they're going to overhaul their smartphone division to stop the slide in sales. the executives brought in higher profits for the april-to-june quarter and credit strong sales for their video games and movie business. but they failed to reach their target for mobile phones. they've struggled to compete against chinese firms that make inexpensive hand sets for emerging economies. now the executives were aiming to sell 50 million phones this year. but they've lowered that estimate. now at 43 million. they say they'll restructure the division to cut their losses. and they may stop selling phones in some markets. managers of some japanese electronics firms are branching out. their companies have made semiconductors, televisions and other gadgets for years now. but they have struggled to stay
profitable. some are looking to the future. and their future is looking green. nhk world's craig dale explains. >> reporter: they're not easy to find. tucked in among the apples, the daikon radishes and the leeks at this supermarket near tokyo sit small packages of lettuce. on the labels, a familiar name. >> fujitsu. >> translator: you mean the company that makes electronics? >> reporter: that's the one. the firm known for its computing parts and products is now growing food. fujitsu executives have been moving away from their money-losing semiconductor business. and that's why they retro fitted part of this factory in fukushima, using post-disaster government funding. now row upon row of lettuce flourishes where workers once made those semiconduct it's a so-called clean room. so no dust or dirt, no bugs, and
limited bacteria to preserve freshness. fujitsu staff harvest thousands of heads of lettuce per day at this factory. putting their brand on food isn't the main aim of this this man is in charge of the project. his team uses tablet computers to control everything from the lights to the air quality. all the information is transmitted to fujitsu's cloud computing system, which the company is pro. the technology provides farmers with a more advanced way to track their crops. it's supposed to make agriculture more efficient and more profitable. >> translator: our system gathers data on how much time people worked in a field. and how much it cost. if we analyze the data, we can figure out where to cut costs and where to streamline
operations. >> reporter: other japanese electronics firms are racing to apply their processing skills to agriculture, toshiba for example has had to shift gears because of dismal tv sales. the president is trying to make health care services part of the company's core business. and that includes growing food. this man is directing a hydro uponic set-up similar to fujitsu. workers will harvest leafy vegetables in a room once used to fabricate floppy discs. toshiba executives plan to open more factories in japan and abroad. down the road they want to sell the complete >> a writing system, that's a big chance for export for us. >> reporter: both firms aren't counting on making a lot in the short-term. consider they bring in annual sales in the tens of billions. still, with farmers in japan aging and their children not
taking over, and with asian consumers gaining more buying power, this analyst says the diversification makes sense. >> translator: the potential is big for the business. considering the fact that people are more conscious of food safety and that the population is aging. and this is not just happening in japan. this is happening all over the world. >> reporter: it's a growth strategy company executives can actually track and when consumers may be able to dig into. craig dale, nhk world, tokyo. okay, that's going to wrap it up for biz this hour. let's see how things are looking on the mar
our three-part series, testing japan's english, looks at the challenges that face many people in the country as they try to improve their communication skills. joining us in the studio is gene otani. gene, what do you have for us today? >> communication skills obviously before the 2020 olympics, they want to get prepared for that and be able to speak english. people from all walks of life are challenging themselves to speak the language. and today we have a small elementary school transforming
itself. the educators in this school has taken on the challenge of teaching english in a new way. the school is located in a remote village in a mountainous area of yamanashi prefecture. our reporter taggo has more. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: children at this elementary school begin their day by singing an english song together. it's a small sch with only 21 children from ages six to 12. english phrases and signs are posted everywhere here. from stairs to hallways. teachers have created an environment where children are exposed to more english than an ordinary sch >> how many red balls? >> zero. >> zero.
>> foreign educators come to teach at the school regularly. even the first graders learn english through playing games and singing songs. children here say learning the language this way is fun. >> translator: i can learn english like playing a game. so it's fun. >> translator: it's fun to speak english with my friends and i'm so happy thatky speak it no >> reporter: this community in minami-alps has been shrinking for decades. the industry is long gone. at its peak, the school had around 200 students. but the numbers have dropped significantly over . if they lost any more children, the school ran the risk of closing do so teachers decided three years ago to make their school unique by teaching english from an
early age. >> translator: it's an age of globalization. so even at a tiny school like ours, we should equip our children with the ability to communicate with others. >> reporter: since then, more children from outside the district have started to enroll to these boys are among them. every morning their mother drives them to school. they both don't seem to mind a half-hour journey by car. it gives them time to practice more. 8-year-old hironi tries to share what he's learned so far. >> how big? big? >> yes. red and yellow and green or
blue. >> i don't know. what is it? >> it's a signal. >> a signal! >> he shared with me a reason why he wants to improve his english. he says his father has been living in thailand for and he wants to help his mother get by. when they visit >> translator: my mother cannot speak english very well. that's why i am studying. so i can talk to people for her. english is universal language. >> translator: hironari is still very young, so his way of expressing himself and communicating is premature. but i see the progress that he's making. >> reporter: now almost half of
the students come from outside the area. the school has an open class twice a year for parents who are interested in sending their children here. >> translator: it's great for kids to be educated in this kind of environment. >> reporter: the principal says that the students are expressing themselves and communicating be. >> translator: the base of communication is to be considerate to other people. so we would like to cultivate the students' sensibility in th. i'll be happy if their communication abilities improve >> reporter: the trial at this small school is changing the way students study english. it's also attracting more children to come here and it might have saved the school from closing its doors at least for now. kurando spataggo, nhk world.
>> i think it's great to see children learning to express themselves in a foreign language and it's about time, isn't it? >> great report from tago-san to report on this. you can see the eyes of the children, they're all having fun and i think that's what the main thing is learning english in this country has long been about learning grammar and translation. and it was torturous for a lot of children. but once you get the sparkle in the children to say hey, it's more than that. it's about expressing yourself, communicating with people. then it becomes a whole different thing and i think the school has done a good job of trying to encourage that. >> it will definitely give them more incentive to learn. gene you'll have more for us in the back-to-school session? >> we're going to have more of these reports. testing japan's english in the next school season as school kicks off for a lot of schools in september. >> okay, thank you very much, gene otani
severe tropical storm nakori is ripping through okinawa with powerful winds and heavy rainfall. our meteorologist, sayaka mori is here with a look at the forecast. >> gene, there are currently two severe tropical storms and two of them are approaching western japan, nakori is affecting the okinawa islands at this moment. let's go straight to video. it's affecting okinawa with fierce winds and heavy rains, 53 millimeters of rain has fallen in 24 hours. at least five people have been injured. all ferry services to and from mainland okinawa have been shut down and many flights have been canceled or delayed today. now, the system has brought 127-kilometre-per-hour winds.
more than that in kasari and heavy rain is battling mainland kyushu, 383 millimeters in parts of miyazaki. the center of the system is moving away from the okinawa islands, but kyushu will continue to deal with stormy conditions for the next couple of days because nakori is a huge system and it will continue to move at a slow pace. the stormy conditions will linger for the next couple of days. in this location. this system will likely become a tropical storm within the next couple of days and then affect the korean peninsula by early next week. but this area will continue to see upwards of 300 millimeters of rainfall. so flood something going to be a very high concern. and if you look at the south, there's another area of rain emerging from the bottom of the screen. this is haulan after hitting the southern half of the mar islands, this system is still churning. it's a tropical storm, 108-kilometre-per-hour winds are
blowing near the center and it will intensify to a typhoon and affect western japan next week. as for mainland japan, rain is falling heavily in the tohoku region as well and heavy rain caused flooding in several places. on saturday, tokyo remains dry, with a high of 33 degrees. quite hot in seoul as well, shanghai with the impact of severe tropical storm you'll see some rainfall with 30 degrees and quite hot in inland china, 37 in chongqing. across the americas, heavy rain is still affecting the southeastern parts of the u.s. 100 to 200 millimeters of rain has fallen since thursday afternoon and more rain to come for the next several hours. heavy rain is also raising the potential for flooding and landslides over the four corners region due to monsoonal rainfall. there's no rainfall and temperatures are on the scorching side over the west. sacramento at 40 degrees for the high with abundance of sunshine
and nearly 30 degrees in seattle on your friday. and finally over in europe. severe weather maker is finally on the weakening trend. and sunny weather should come back in the balkan peninsula by your saturday. so that's at least good news. but with the incoming system, conditions will turn quite stormy over the pyrenees regions on friday. and temperatures across the eastern area still on the hot side, about ten degrees higher than normal in several places like moscow and kiev. here's the extended forecast around the glo.
>> indie central, shimo-kitazawa. selling vintage clothes and knickknacks. also the heart of the independent drama. and music scene. ♪ jinbocho, with 200 book shops set to boast the lar select st. the place th interests, thi jinbocho. hello, welcome back to "toky eye," today we visit area stores, in t joined by felicai and adam,