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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.

LinkAsia News Brief

Asia's Response to Iranian Oil Embargo

 
 

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Japan's Perspective on an Iranian Oil Embargo

 

(LinkAsia: January 27, 2012)

Yul Kwon:

The European Union is increasing the pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program. It’s joining the US and the UK in the latest round of sanctions, which includes an embargo on Iranian oil. Japanese broadcaster NHK has our top story.

 

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NHK World NEWSLINE

Airdate: January 23, 2012

 

Reporter:

The EU ministers made their decision at a meeting in Brussels. Their sanctions came in line with similar measures that were approved last month in the United States. The ministers agreed to freeze the assets of Iran’s central bank. They want to cut off the main source of revenue for the government. The EU is the second-largest importer of Iranian oil. It accounts for nearly 20 percent of the total. Sources close to the talks say the ministers are focusing on how Iran will react to the decision, including the possible closure of the Strait of Hormuz. The strait is the only waterway to the open ocean for many areas around the Persian Gulf. NHK World’s Go Sawahata has just been there. He reports that it’s still busy, at least for now.

 

Go Sawahata (Reporter):

I reached the Strait of Hormuz by sailing up the coast of Oman. The Persian Gulf was busy with oil tankers from all over the world. Oman has military facilities near the Strait of Hormuz. Omani boats were on patrol. Iran conducted huge naval exercises in the area late last month. Iran has also just launched its latest missiles in a show of its military clout. The United States has deployed a second aircraft carrier in the area. Countries along the gulf have built up their military forces in case of tension with Iran. The United Arab Emirates signed a contract last month to buy the latest US missile interceptors. Saudi Arabia signed a deal to buy more F-15 fighters from the United States.

 

Theodore Karasik (Institute of Near East and Gulf Military Analysis):

They’re increasingly buying more arms, as well as their recent experience in Libya, has taught them how to use air power effectively. So this is a nice combination of attributes to face off against Iran.

 

Go Sawahata:

The big question is how Gulf States will export their oil if the Strait of Hormuz is closed. The UAE is building a pipeline to bypass the strait. But the pipeline won’t be finished for at least six months.

 

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan (UAE Foreign Minister):

I’ll do everything I can to keep oil production going.

 

Go Sawahata:

Ninety percent of Japan’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. Japanese businesses are keeping a close eye on developments. This Japanese company is involved with production of oil in the UAE for export to Japan. Even if the Strait of Hormuz stays open, any more military tension will hit the company’s business.

 

Katsujiro Kida (Japan Oil Development):

Closure of the strait would create a situation beyond any company’s control. An accidental incident could trigger something that nobody wants to happen.

 

Go Sawahata:

Tension between the West and Iran over Iranian nuclear program is at a critical level. There are fears of a regional war. The fate of the central artery for global oil transport is at stake. 

 

 
 

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Japan's Shuttered Nuclear Reactors Rumble to Life

(LinkAsia: January 20, 2012) 

Sydnie Kohara:

The International Energy Agency says that Japan is generating electricity from oil, because only 5 of the country’s 54 nuclear reactors are in operation. According to the utility TEPCO, two reactors in Niigata prefecture just passed an earthquake stress test, which means they can stay open. But Japanese broadcaster NHK tells us the governor of Niigata is skeptical.

 

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NHK World NEWSLINE

Airdate: January 16, 2012

 

Reporter:

TEPCO gave the nuclear and industrial safety agency the results of tests on the number one and number 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata prefecture. The tests are a precondition for restarting the reactors. Tepco claims the reactors could endure a tsunami of up to 15 meters, nearly 5 times as high than the safety standards set by the company.

 

Zengo Aizawa (TEPCO):

We considered the two reactors more than safe enough. We want to explain the results to local residents and authorities. We also want to consult with them about how to proceed.

 

Reporter:

Niigata governor Hirohiko Izumida says it’s still too early to decide whether to restart the reactors.

 

Hirohiko Izumida (Niigata governor):

Doing stress tests is better than nothing. Of course, TEPCO has to factor in what really happened at Fukushima-Daiichi. Otherwise, what’s the point in having this kind of computer simulation?

 

Reporter:

Japan’s utilities have submitted stress test results for 14 reactors. That’s nearly 30 percent of the reactors that have been shut down for inspections.

 
 

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Vietnam's Lunar New Year Homecoming

(LinkAsia: January 20, 2012)

Sydnie Kohara:

Vietnam is also preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year. People are returning to their hometowns and that includes former refugees who fled the country during the Vietnam War. The government has made a point of welcoming them back this year with a high-profile event. It reflects the government’s desire to reconcile with expatriates amid a shortage of skilled workers. Here’s NHK with the story.

 

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NHK World NEWSLINE

Airdate: January 17, 2012

 

Reporter:

State-run television covered the Welcome Home event on Monday as its lead story on the evening news. The government-sponsored Spring in Homeland 2012 party took place ahead of newt week’s lunar new year, known as Tet in Vietnam.

 

Many people fled the country during the Vietnam War, especially from now-defunct South Vietnam, in the final days of the conflict in the 1970s. About 2.7 million Vietnamese now live overseas.

 

Officials used to treat them with suspicion because of connections with pro-reform groups. But that attitude has changed in recent years. The government even invited children living from overseas back to Vietnam to see first-hand how the country is developing.

 

Former refugees are now viewed as a possible solution to the shortage of business leaders Vietnam needs to further its market reforms. At Monday’s event, President Truong Tan Sang played drums to welcome the expats home. The government will likely continue to send messages of conciliation to Vietnamese from around the world to return and support the country’s economic development.

 
 

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