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From Beijng to Tokyo, from Seoul to New Delhi, LinkAsia takes viewers into media about Asia – from Asia – offering unfiltered insight into one of the most diverse, fast-paced regions of the globe.

 

The LinkAsia blog features in-depth analysis from expert contributors and LinkAsia producers, as well as transcripts from NHK Japan reports.

 

LinkAsia airs Fridays at 9:30pm ET/6:30pm PT on Link TV, and is available online at LinkAsia.org.

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Japan: Dating Anime Girls and Drinking Their Pee
 
 

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Residents on Edge of Evacuation Zone Return Home
In Japan, some residents of one city in the Fukushima evacuation zone are being allowed to return home.  More than 300 people from one district in the northeastern city of Tamura were forced to evacuate following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 that destroyed a nuclear reactor. Tamura is about 12 miles from the plant, right on the edge of the radioactive zone. With more on their homecoming, here’s Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.
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Reporter:
People in the neighborhood had to leave their homes right after the accident three years ago. But government officials found that radiation levels were relatively low. So workers could contaminate the area before other parts of the evacuation zone around the plant. But most evacuees from the area say they don’t plan to return home in the near future. Some of them are worried there may still be pockets of high radiation. Hideyuki Tsuboi says his parents will return home. Tsuboi, his wife, and their three young daughters will stay in temporary housing in another part of Tamura.

Hideyuki Tsuboi:
It’s our responsibility as parents to ensure a safe life for children. That’s the main reason we decided not to go back.

Reporter:
Government officials plan to give dosimeters to people moving back to the neighborhood.  More than 80,000 people from the evacuation zone still can’t return home.

The government is in charge of removing radioactive substances from the evacuation zone around the nuclear plant. The area includes  all or parts of 11 cities, towns and villages. But the cleanup effort doesn’t include a zone with high radiation.  As we mentioned earlier, officials on Tuesday lifted the evacuation order for the city of Tamura. Environment minister Nobuteru Ishihara says the government also  finished clean up work in two other towns and a village on schedule.

Nobuteru Ishihara:
We will continue monitoring radiation levels to  confirm that the effect of the decontamination work lasts. We will do our best to rebuild those areas We will also do all we can to speed up decontamination of other areas to complete the work on time.
 
 

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Japan's Stem Cell Discovery Under Scrutiny
Earlier this year scientists in Japan published groundbreaking stem cell
research. Their findings were viewed as a game changer- simplifying the
process of regenerating cells, and significantly reducing the time it takes to
do so. Needless to say this offered hope to quickly replace damaged cells or
grow new organs for sick and injured people. But their published findings hit
a snag "there have been reports that other scientists have been unable to
replicate the Japanese team's results" leading to speculation that the
research was flawed. Here's NHK with more.
NHK Stem Cells--
Rioji Noyori:
I would like to first and foremost express my deep regrets that articles published in ‘Nature’ by our scientists are bring into question the credibility of the scientific community.

Reporter:
Masatoshi Takeichi is the director of the RIKEN Center for   Developmental Biology. He oversaw the work of the research team. He too apologized. Takeichi  said he advised the authors to quickly withdraw the papers and  conduct the experiment again.The researchers led by Haruko Obokata claimed to find a way to create a phenomenon called STAP, Stimulus Triggered Acquisition of Pluripotency. They said their approach made cells flexible enough to  develop into any type of tissue. But scientists elsewhere questioned the findings. Investigators from RIKEN are examining 6 aspects of the papers. The look that photos that are appeared to have been tempered with, to show STAP cell's growing. And they looked at photos of placenta that appeared to come from different tests.

The investigators concluded the ways the researcher dealt with data in  these cases was not appropriate. But they said that this did not amount to wrongdoing. The investigators  said they need to look further into  four other aspects. One of the key aspects is photos of tissues allegedly created from STAP cells that determine that the photos came from Obokata’s doctoral thesis. The images showed tissues produced with cells from a different source.
 
 

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Fukushima's Displaced: Life After 3/11

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami flooded the Fukushima Daiichi power facility, and caused a nuclear meltdown at three of its reactors. Since then workers have been scrambling to store the massive amounts of radioactive water, well over 90 million gallons, and keep it from leaking into the ocean.


At least 18,000 people were killed by the earthquake and tsunami. And more than 270,000 people were displaced by the disaster. Efforts to rebuild homes will take years. That situation is especially complicated in Fukushima, where people have been dealing with damage from the tsunami as well as the effects of the nuclear crisis. And three years later, people in the region are still waiting to learn when and if they'll ever be able to return home to restart their lives. In the meantime, they're stuck in temporary housing. With more on how they're getting by, here's Japan's public broadcaster, NHK.

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Reporter:

One of the few pleasures Soiichi Saitou enjoys these days is spending time with his dog.


Souichi Saitou:

I walk my dog every morning and evening. That helps me more than anything. I don't have to think about anything when I'm with you right?


Reporter:

Saito tries not to dwell much on how life used to be in his hometown Futaba. His family farmed there for more than 500 years. They were particularly proud of their spinach. It won prizes for its high quality. Saito did worry about one thing, his house and field were about three kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi. He was concerned that an accident could occur at the plant, particularly that it could be hit by a tsunami. His worst fears came true. He remembers the repeated discussions he had with staff from the nuclear plant.


Souichi Saitou:

I had asked the plant's operator over the decades to protect the plant against tsunamis. They just laughed and said that kind of accident would never happen.


Reporter:

The nuclear accident forced Saitou and other residents to flee. He now lives in another city about 40 kilometers away.


These temporary houses were built as a quick fix solution, but about three years later, they still serve as the main residence of evacuees. Saitou shares a small unit with his wife and his mother. They say the idleness of living in temporary housing has weakened them physically and mentally. They miss the days when they worked hour after hour in the fields. But their hometown is still off limits because of high radiation. Residents need special permission to go back. This footage was taken when Saitou visited his house about a year after the disaster. He was able to stay for only a few hours. He was devastated by what he saw. His spinach greenhouses were overgrown with weeds. And rats had invaded his home. Still, Saitou did not give up hope that someday he would return. But last year he received another shock. The government announced a plan to build a storage facility for nuclear waste in Saitou's home town. His property is on the proposed site. The facility would hold radioactive soil collected from areas across northeastern Japan for 30 years. Saitou knows if that plan goes through, he'll never return to Futaba.


Souichi Saitou:

I remember my hometown and I wonder why were we forced to leave? Why do we have to be here? I want the government to decontaminate our land and save our community no matter how long it takes.


Reporter:

Many evacuees are still living in limbo three years after the disaster. Saitou is still hanging on to the hope that he'll be able to return to his house and farm, a hope that he knows is growing more distant by the day.     

 
 

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Onomichi Denim Project Looks to Sell 'Worn-in' Jeans

Onomichi Denim Project

 

NHK WORLD English- Designing Denim

How much would you pay for a pair of jeans that someone's worn for a year to give them that broken in look, unique to the way that individual wears them? One Japanese company is heading a campaign to do just that. And they're hoping it will revive its local economy.

 

 

 

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Reporter:

This temple in Onomichi City in Hiroshima prefecture was built more than 600 years ago. Its chief priest is wearing not traditional robes, but denims. And the chef at this sushi restaurant famous for using locally caught fresh fish is also wearing jeans. The priest and the chef are part of the Onomichi Denim Project now underway in this western city. The organizers are asking people of all ages and from all walks of life to wear their denims for a year. Participants include carpenters, doctors and ship builders. The goal of the project is to make bonafide used denims.


Its leader is Yukinobu Danjo. His family runs a generations old sewing business in Onomichi. They once owned several plants, but cheap imports have forced them to scale down their operations over the past decade. 


Yukinobu Danjo:

I grew up here and I'm a part of Japan's manufacturing industry. I don't want to abandon it.


Reporter:

Danjo wanted to create special denim clothes that would help revitalize the local textile sector. This thought prompted him to get creative with people in and around Onomichi. He asked for help from a renowned local denim designer. They decided to create a special kind of vintage denim through techniques used up to the 1960s. The thread was died at this 120 year old firm. Only the outer part of the thread was dyed. So the core remained white. The technique creates beautiful shades of color and patterns when the fabric is rubbed.


Yukinobu Danjo:

The different movements each person makes while wearing the jeans create unique patterns. After being worn many times, the denims don't just become old or used. They become like vintage jeans.


Reporter:

The Onomichi Denim Project aims to tell each person's story through denim. The denim takes on something akin to a real feeling. Danjo visits a participant at a fishery cooperative in the city.


Fisherman:

It looks like the knees are faded well, maybe too much. But isn't it better for pants to be faded more evenly?


Yukinobu Danjo:

No no, your way is best.


Reporter:

Fisherman Nobuchika Tagashira participated in the project. He has worn the jeans almost every day for the past year. They have faded greatly and turned yellow due to exposure to seawater and the wind.


Nobuchika Tagashira:

I grew to like the jeans after wearing them for the first six months. Then I was eager to see what they would be like after the full year.


Yukinobu Danjo:

If all the workers in Onomichi wear jeans as their work pants we can build a new denim town. I'll be overjoyed if that helps revive Onomichi in a way we haven't seen in a long time.


Reporter:

The people of Onomichi have collaborated to create a new style of denim, and the jeans will go on sale next month. But that isn't the end of the story. A second denim project is under consideration, and could lead to another round of unique creativity for this celebrated textile heartland.

 
 

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