of new cases had been flat or decreasing since a peak in early august, but the number has begun creeping up. the panel noted increases in hokkaido, tohoku and northern kanto regions as well as parts of okinawa. they say it's a result of infection clusters and people visiting or leaving tokyo and the surrounding prefectures where there is no drop in infection rates. but the number of hospitalizations remains flat nationwide and the number of patients in serious condition is reportedly decling. the experts say provincial entertainment districts and ex-pat communities could become super spreader sis teand they are calling for more health notices and tests in those areas, and they warn japan could see the kinds of explosive spread of infections in europe unless infections are dealt with. in australia authorities in the state of victoria have
lifted coronavirus restrictions in and around the city of melbourne for the first time in about four months. >> three, two, one. whoo! >> the city has been under lockdown since july when it was declared a hot spot. dining in restaurants was banned an outings other than shopping for daily necessities prohibited. the state government now says the infection level has fallen enough to allow businesses to reopen, and no new cases were reopened on monday or tuesday. >> i am feeling excited and optimistic and can't wait to get into it, and we have christmas coming up and it's exciting times. >> some restrictions remain in place. cafes and restaurants can have a maximum of 20 people ioors and outdoors at anytime, and officials are calling on people to continue calling on
anti-infection measures. the health department reported over 900 deaths as of tuesday. as countries continue to impose stringent entry requirements, the u.s. state of hawaii will soon make it easier for people from japan to visit. the hawaiian government says japanese visitors will no longer be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine as long as they test negative for veed. the test must be taken from a trusted testing partner and no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure. the new measures go into effect november 6. >> this adds an additional layer of safety as we take in important strides to revive our economy and get people back to work. welcoming our japanese guests back to hawaii is an important
step in maintaining the close relationship between our two regions. >> japan's health ministry says people returning from hawaii will still be required to undergo testing for the coronavirus. they will also be asked to stay home or at hotels or other designated locations for two weeks. meanwhile major japanese airlines are considering increasing flights to hawaii. currently the airlines plan to offer two round-trip flights a a month. jap pap has sent letters of appreciation for helping bring home japanese citizens by the city's lockdown early this year. >> translator: i only did what i ought to have done. this letter of appreciation made me realize ha the people of china and japan were able to get in touch with their deepest feelings and how they think
about each other. >> a japanese embassy official handed the letters from the foreign minister to four organizations. the groups helped the japanese government in efforts to bring back citizens from wuhan, then the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. a total of 828 people returned to japan aboard five chartered flights in january and february. the organizations made arrangements for buses, drivers and permits from local authorities that allowed japanese people in and around the city to get to the airport despite traffic restrictions. south korea has become the third major asian economy to set a target to go carbon neutral. president moon jae-in says they'll aim to hit net zero emissions by 2050.
>> translator: we will act aggressively to deal with climate change along with the international immunity with the goal of zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. >> his announcement follows similar pledges by japan and china. he said the shift would create new industries and new jobs. he promised to spend more than $7 billion in the next fiscal year promoting eco-friendly infrastructure and electric vehicles. a hong kong new hampshire says pro-democracy activists have been turned away from the u.s. consulate after trying to seek asylum. the south china morning post says the incident happened on tuesday afternoon. officials at the consulate declined to comment on the matter. hours earlier, police said they arrested three former members of a group that allegedly called for hong kong's independence violating the national security
law. local media say one of the suspects was detained near the consulate on tuesday morning after trying to seek asylum himself. several prominent members of the pro-democracy movement have fled hong kong in recent months. they fear arrest under china's sweeping new national security law. earlier this month one student protester was granted refugee status in germany. in august, chinese authorities detained 12 others who were allegedly traveling illegally by boat to taiwan. here in asia, india and the u.s. have signed a pact to boost military cooperation in an apparent bid to contain china's growing maritime activities. the agreement was signed on tuesday at a meeting of foreign affairs and defense chiefs in the indian capital of new delhi. it was the third time the u.s. and india have held the two plus two talks. the pact enables the u.s. to
provide india with sensitive data such as images taken by military satellites. the two nations have already agreed to allow their militaries to mutually provide food and fuel and to use each other's bases. >> during our meetings these last two days we reaffirmed the united states commitment to a comprehensive and fuller looking defense partnership with india and discussed opportunities to expand our regional securit cooperation, military to military interactions and defense trade relationship. >> earlier this month the u.s. and india held a foreign ministers meeting with japan and australia in tokyo. the four nations reaffirmed they'll unite in realizing a free and open indo-pacific based on the rule of law. in their latest meeting the u.s. and indian ministers welcomed a joint maritime exercise by the four nations that will be held next month in waters near india. turning to thailand where
lawmakers from the ruling party are trying to defuse antigovernment demonstrations. they propose setting up a committee with protest leaders to find a way out of the political crisis. they made the proposal on the second day of a special session of parliament devoted to the unrest. the prime minister said he agrees with the idea. he also once again dismiss the protesters' calls for his resignation. opposition lawmakers are criticizing the committee plan, saying it is only meant to buy time. demonstrators have been demanding reforms to the country's monarchy, too. in germany, where the king spends most of his time, the foreign minister said officials are looking into his activities there. >> translator: we have been examining this for many weeks, and we will continue to, long term. if there are things that we feel
to be unlawful, there will be immediate consequences. >> the protesters say it is inappropriate for the king to carry out his public duties while living in the european country. several u.n. agencies are reporting that parts of yemen are suffering record levels of acute child malnutrition. they say nearly 100,000 children could die if they don't receive urgent treatment. the wfp, the food and agricultural organization and unicef conducted a survey in august on the health of about 1.4 million children under age 5 in southeastern yemen. the report released on tuesday says an estimated more than 580,000 children were suffering from acute malnutrition. the figure shows a 9% increase from january this year. the number of children with severe acute malnutrition at risk of dying also increased by 15%.
>> translator: we are receiving many malnutrition patients and seeing many deaths caused by poverty and the inability of rents to ce to hospitals because of econoc conditio. >> yem has endured more than five years of fighting between saudi-backed government sources and houthi rebels supported by iran. food prices in the country have reportedly skyrocketed as the fightingontinueso escalate. u.n. officials are calling on the international community for financial aid to help feed the children. the world food program or wfp was awarded the 2020 nobel peace prize earlier this month. > america decide nhk world japan reports. turn to nhk "newsline" and newsroom tokyo for coverage of the u.s. presidential election and the issues that matter most in asia. from tokyo, beijing, seoul and
our bureau here in new york for a global view with an asian perspective. count on us, nhk world japan. with the u.s. election now just a week away, both camps are going on the offensive focusing on states where a win could give them another path to the presidency. president donald trump was in michigan, a rust belt state where he grabbed a surprise victory four years ago. >> it's a choice between a trump boom or a biden lockdown. but you're already locked down. >> meanwhile, democratic candidate joe biden is trying to flip georgia, which hasn't been won by a democrat since 1992. >> -- as the heart of this nation turned to stone. i don't think so. i refuse to believe it.
i know this country. i know our people. and i know we can unite and heal this nation. >> the pandemic is prompting a record number of early votes. more than 69 million people had already cast a ballot as of tuesday according to the u.s. elections project. >> whatever is going to happen on actual election day, november 3rd, whether there will be any disruptions or anything that would cause us to have any problems to vote, so i wanted to do it as soon as possible and that way i don't have to worry about it. >> officials are expecting an unprecedented turnout. the number of advanced votes has topped half of all ballots cast in the election four years ago. ♪ in recent months dozens of people in japan have been attacked and injured by bears.
some have even died. the environment ministry says there were over 13,000 reported sightings from april to september, the highestumber in five years. our next report looks at what's behind the increase and what some communities are doing about it. >> reporter: an nhk survey shows over 120 people have been injured by bears sin april, over half of the attacks by bears have occurred in the last two months and at least two people have died. several were recently caught on camera. this man has been involved in bear hunting for years. he says the bears have fewer air corns to feed on this year and the bears are thinner than usual.
>> in past years the forest would be carpeted with acorns, but not this year. >> reporter: one man says the bears will come for food, and they like home-gro fruit and vegetables. >> the bears like home grown fruit and vegetables. >> on the sea of japan coast last year, two bears stayed in a residential area for three days. as a result the local government is offering to help people cut down their trees, and it's important to look at how bears move around. >> it's important to cut o the way bears travel to residential areas, and local governments need to create boundaries between bears and people. >> reporter: the areas are expanding as rural areas become populated.
in ag geeta prefecture, northeast of japan, residents have installed electric fences around their fields. they've also cleared bushes where bears hide. these are small steps, but there is still much to learn about why bears and people keep running into each other and what to do about it. typhoon molave made landfall in vietnam wednesday dropping more significant rainfall. our meteorologist sayaka mori joins us with the latest. >> molave hit central vietnam. it is one of the strongest storms to hit vietnam in 20 years. it's also the fourth named storm of the month to impact the country. the system made landfallality a noon, but still packing winds of 80 kilometers per hour, still a typhoon. it looks like it will likely weaken quite significantly
because it will move over the mountainous locations. but as a rainy weather maker, we'll see tons of rainfall in many areas including vietnam, thailand, cam bode i don't and laos. these areas can cause rainfall. these areas have been doing with flooding and landslides due to a series of tropical systems. we have one more tropical system near the file peeps. it will likely strengthen to a tropical storm soon i. could be the 19th named storm of the western pacific typhoon season. as a typhoon, it could strike the philippines on sunday. we have a tropical low right here, and this system will likely take a more northerly path. it could aim for taiwan or the northern philippines into next week. there's a cold front approaching northern japan. this system could cause dangerous weather conditions including thunderstorms, hail as well as powerful gusts. so be careful. stormy conditions will continue
into thursday in the northern areas of japan. temperatures will be 13 in sapporo and 23 in tokyo. beautiful weather in osaka on thursday. we have one more circulation over the yucatan peninsula. this system made landfall in the peninsula. take a look at this video to show the aftermath of the storm. hurricane zeta slammed into the yucatan peninsula as a category 1 storm monday night bringing powerful winds and heavy rain. that being said, officials from the area reported that the damage was not serious. zeta had weakened into a tropical storm but has strengthened again over the gulf of mexico. zeta will be the 11th storm to hit the u.s. mainland this season. again, it has restrengthened to a hurricane. it looks like it's going to lit mississippi or louisiana as a category 2 hurricane. then after that it's going to head towards the mid atlantic coast into thursday or friday. that's it for me. have a nice day.
that wraps up this edition of nhk "newsline." i'm yoshi ogasawara in tokyo. thanks for watching and do stay with us for more. ♪ this is "newsline biz." i'm gene otani. the covid-19 pandemic has taken a massive toll on business for east japan railway. the company has posted a net loss of $264 billion yen or about $2.5 billion for the april to september period. it's the group's first loss for
the period since 1992. that's when it began releasing half-year results. the train operator known as jre says its group sales in the six months plunged by almost half from last year. demand for the train travel -- demand for train travel dried up. sales also declined at its commercial facilities, hotels and station buildings. the company expects to see its first annual net loss of about $4 billion through march. east japan railway says it aims to cut costs by around $960 million this fiscal year. the company will reduce executive compensation and advertising expenses. it will also move up the departure times of last train services on many lines in and around tokyo starting next march. business leaders from japan and the u.s. have called for strengthening free and fair
trade. they urge their countries to diversify supply chains to help offset risks that have emerged due to the coronavirus pandemic. the leaders issued a joint statement after their online japan u.s. business conference. they say each side should enhance public-private dialogue in order to diversify supply chains and address obstacles t production and distribution. the participants appeared to have u.s.-china friction in mind as they stressed the need to promote a free, fair and rules-based trading system. they said the u.s. government should eliminate hurdles to imports they said are based on overly broad application of security policies. the participants also called for close collaboration with like-minded countries including those in europe and the indo-pacific region. the co-chair of the meeting said america and china are likely to
remain divided regardless of the outcome of the u.s. presidential election. he said it's important they agree on a shared direction and work together. there's just one week to go in the race for the white house. whoever american citizens choose will ultimately affect u.s. trade policy. nhk world spoke with an expert on trade policies about what the global situation could look like after november 3rd. >> reporter: president donald trump has been swaying not only china but also allies with high tariffs. he also withdrew from the transpacific partnership free trade agreement. watanabe says if trump wins, his hard line approach would continue. >> i think this rule based international trading system has been very much undermined during these four years of his
administration. it cannot be changed overnight. it will take some time. it depends how sustainable the u.s. industries could be under this heavy pressure on the existing supply chains systems. >> reporter: watanabe says the administration under joe biden may maintain the same tough stance on china but may show a different attitude toward allies. >> he would respect more the cooperation with the allied countries like japan and the countries of european union. so mr. biden is more inclined to enhance united states' commitment in the material frameworks. >> reporter: but watanabe says it won't be so easy for biden to change his stance. >> traditionally speaking, the
democratic party has more inclination toward protectionism in the trade matters. if mr. biden could reduce those high tariffs in respect of steel, aluminum and all the other manufacturing products down to the normal and legal duty rates that united states had been committed under wto, that could be ice breaker. >> reporter: watanabe said japan could play an important role for pushing forward free trade. >> i think japan is quite prepared actually to play that kind of intermediary roles between united states and china because we have already tpp 11 across asia-pacific involving 11
countries including japan. we have u.s.-japan trade agreement on goods. >> reporter: depending on the outcome of the election, there may be a change in the u.s. stance on global trade. nhk world. department stores in tokyo are changing their new year strategies to cope with the pandemic. they're moving early with their bargain packages known as lucky bags. they contain items worth much more than the retail price of the contents. the only catch is shoppers don't know what's inside until they buy one. managers say sthar bags contain lifestyle items for people to make the most of being at home. one contains a hammock and even a carpet. another bag comes with kitchen tools to make staying at home more fun. the store usually sells its lucky bags on the first three days of the year, but this
season they will be on sale between late december and january 11th in an effort to avoid crowding. >> translator: the needs of our shoppers are becoming more varied with changing lifestyles. i think we have a great lineup of lucky bags to help customers fully enjoy the time they spend at home. >> some of the lucky bags offered by the department store aim to support tourist businesses hit by the coronavirus. fortunate customers will win a hotel stay in a popular tourist district and also get a ride around the district in a rickshaw. they say their lucky bags will also go on sale in late december so shoppers can beat the rush. let's have a look at the markets.