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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.

 

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LinkAsia News Brief

In Defense of the Chinese Tourist
 
 

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Fukushima: Four Tons of Radioactive Rainwater Leaks from Stricken Nuclear Plant
FukushimaThere's yet another problem at Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear reactors. The operators of the reactors reported earlier this week that four tons of radioactive rainwater has leaked from the plant. Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, reported on the story.

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Reporter:
An official with plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company says crews were pumping up pools of contaminated rain water. A tropical storm passed over the complex last month. Rain built up around tanks used to store contaminated water. The crews may have transferred it to the wrong tank leading to an overflow. Workers measured the radiation levels inside the tank after the leak. It was 13 times higher than the government safety limit for releasing tainted water into the ocean. For some reason the level of radiation has doubled since measurements taken just after the storm. Plant managers are looking into what caused the spike.

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And, Japanese and American scientists are trying to work together to find out how much radiation seeped into the Pacific Ocean since the disaster at Fukushima 31 months ago. The American side says it's found low levels of the radioactive cesium in Bluefin tuna caught off the US coast. NHK has a report.

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Reporter:
Professor Hideo Yamazaki of Kinki University has been studying marine creatures in the waters off Fukushima Prefecture.

Hideo Yamazaki:
We estimated concentration levels to be so low, they wouldn't be detectable in the US, But the fact that they found contaminated fish off the coast of the US really shocked us, even if the figures are extremely low.

Reporter:
Yamazaki says the level of contamination doesn't pose a threat to human health. But he says he wants to share his data with the US researchers to figure out how the tuna picked up the radioactive material. Yamazaki says it takes time for tuna to accumulate radioactive substances since they're at the top of the marine food chain. Tiny creatures such and plankton absorb radioactive substances first. Small fish then eat the plankton. Then big fish like tuna eat the smaller ones. Recent studies show Bluefin tuna spend their juvenile period in Japan's coastal water. The fish take one to four months to migrate across the Pacific to the US West Coast. Yamazaki says he thinks he can figure out how and where the Bluefin tuna accumulate radioactivity by studying fish on both sides of the ocean. He asked US researchers to collaborate with his team.

Hideo Yamazaki:
Japan needs to work with people from different sides to gather and assess the same kind of data. We need to provide the public with reliable information.

Reporter:
Researchers from Stanford University sent last April twenty three-gram slices of Bluefin tuna to Japan. But customs agents at Kansai International Airport stopped them. They said proper documentation was missing. But the US government does not issue such paperwork for research purposes. So the samples are still at the airport, frozen, six months on.

Hideo Yamazaki:
This is an urgent situation. We need customs officials to understand just how critical this is and facilitate the timely transportation of materials that need to be studied.

Reporter:
Scientists in the US and Japan are calling for international cooperation and flexibility, so they can better study the effects of the nuclear accident.
 
 

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Obama's 'Asian Pivot' Takes a Hit, Government Shutdown to Blame
APEC SummitPresident Obama's Asian strategy, put on hold, is taking a hit because of the stalemate over the budget and the government shutdown. Obama has decided to cut short a week-long trip to Asia to stay home and deal with the Republican-sparked crisis. His decision is getting attention in Asia. Japan's public broadcaster NHK gave their perspective in this report.

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Reporter:
Obama was to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bali. He was then supposed to chair the Trans Pacific Partnership Free Trade talks there. The president's next scheduled stop was the East Asia Summit to Brunei. A White House spokesman said Obama phoned the leaders of the two host countries to express his regrets. Obama had already canceled visits to Malaysia and the Philippines.
 
 

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Are South Korea's Singing Bullies Promoting School Violence?
 
 

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Chinese Tourists Flocking to Japan Despite Tense Relations

SenkakuRelations between Japan and China are more than a little rocky at the moment. What's getting all the attention is a territorial dispute over a group of tiny, uninhabited islands south of Okinawa. Both countries claim them. The dispute has hurt Japanese travel to China. But as Japan public broadcaster NHK reports, Chinese don't seem to be deterred from visiting Japan.

 

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Reporter:
The centuries old Forbidden City is a popular site in Beijing, but take a look around and you hardly see any Japanese visitors. Travel agency owner, Sun Bo, says it's been this way for almost a year.

Sun Bo:
It's so bad, business is down 80 to 90 percent. I'm making no money at all. My business is almost in the red.

Reporter:
Sun works with a major firm in Japan to bring Japanese groups to China. But as relations remain tense between the countries, fewer Japanese are choosing to come. On the other hand, Chinese businesses arranging tours to Japan have seen a rebound in business. In the past two months, Japan's embassy in Beijing has issued 10 percent more tourist visas compared to the same time last year.

Chinese Tourist:
Political relations between China and Japan are not so good. But that has no impact at the grassroots level.

Reporter:
And it's not just for holidays. Japan is still attracting many young Chinese wanting to stay for an extended time. Last month, Liu Muyan began a year of studies at this school in Nagano. It's part of an exchange program set up by the Japanese government several years ago to promote mutual understanding between the countries.

Liu Muyan:
I'm sure that I can become a bridge that links the people of Japan and China.

Japanese Student:
I was expecting him to be anti-Japanese, but he is seeker to learn all he can about Japan. And his Japanese is good. This experience taught me not to be misled what other say.

Reporter:
This expert says people like Liu are exactly what Japan and China need.

Satoshi Amako: The scale of misunderstanding may grow time goes by, but exchanges are taking place between people from the two countries on a daily bases. Those people deserve our attention. I think they should have more prominence.

Reporter:
So while the governments of Japan and China continue to seek ways to mend ties, some regular people are already forging ahead. Improving relations and understanding to strengthen ties.

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Pakistan is reeling from a horrific suicide bombing. More than 80 people were killed and more than a hundred others were injured after an Episcopalian church was attacked. Here's Japan's public broadcaster NHK.

 

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Reporter:
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up among hundreds of worshippers in a church in Peshawar. Sectarian violence between majority Sunni and minority Shi'a groups has been rampant. But attacks against Christians have been rare in the predominant Muslim country. A local Islamic extremist group has claimed responsibility. They said all non-Muslim groups are targets and the attack was to retaliate against US drone strikes in Pakistan. Christians called for an end to the violence. They protested across the country including the capital, Islamabad, and in Karachi in the south.

 
 

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