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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

Broken Democracies: Asian Citizens Fed Up With the Status Quo

 
 

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Japan's Youth Struggling with Unemployment
(LinkAsia: March 23, 2012)
Yul Kwon:
Japan's unemployment rate is 4.6 percent, which is about half of the unemployment rate here in the United States. You might think this would sound reassuring to the Japanese, but recent college graduates are plenty worried. According to a new study, more than half of those who graduated in 2010 have either failed to find regular jobs or have already found themselves back in the job market. NHK tells us more.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: March 19, 2012

Reporter:
According to the cabinet office, nearly 570,000 people who graduated from university or vocational school found permanent jobs. But nearly 200,000 had already quit. Some 140,000 of them were not even working or were working only part-time. 67,000 students have left school without finishing their degrees. The cabinet office says businesses are cautious about hiring due to the sluggish economy. It says some smaller enterprises are willing to hire, but many students would rather work for large firms. 

Job-hunting Student:
I don't even get around to job interviews. That makes me think how tight the labor market really is.

Job-hunting Student:
I was confident at the beginning, but now I often give up hope. That's the situation, really.

Reporter:
The head of a career center at a university in Tokyo points out that many are leaving their careers because they can't deal with the stress.

Satoru Maruyama, Director, Hosei University Career Center:
Many companies say students can't cope with mental strains, and that's also what we feel. During the first three years, they aren't sure they're doing things right. It's important they feel that they have to stick to whatever they are doing no matter what.
 
Yul Kwon:
One creative solution came from a Japanese finalist in the 2010 World Bank Essay Competition on youth unemployment. His solution? Farming. His theory is that the declining agriculture industry needs new blood to reinvent itself. And when it does, you've actually solved two problems -- youth unemployment and food security.
 
 

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Japan-US Alliance Strengthens as Tensions with North Korea Rise
(LinkAsia: March 23, 2012)
Yul Kwon:
In Japan, the defense minister says he would consider destroying the rocket to protect the country's territory. Japanese broadcaster NHK tells us more.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: March 23, 2012

Naoki Tanaka, Japanese Defense Minister:
As we face the North Korean issue, now is an important time to demonstrate the Japan-US alliance.
 
John Roos, US Ambassador to Japan:
Totally agree with that.
 
Reporter:
Tanaka said the international community should unite in pressing North Korea to abandon its launch plan. Ambassador Roos said the North's action is a threat to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Tanaka said he will order the Self-Defense Forces to prepare to intercept any falling debris from the rocket. He added that the defense ministry is considering deploying destroyers equipped with the Aegis Air Defense System off southern islands, such as Ishigaki. He said Patriot PAC-3 surface-to-air missiles could also be deployed.
 
 

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Japan Speaks: A Look at How Japan Marked March 11

 
 

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China Convenes Annual Meeting of World's Largest Legislative Body
(LinkAsia: March 9, 2012)
Yul Kwon:
The largest legislative body in the world is holding its annual meeting this week. At about 3,000 members, China’s National People’s Congress covers topics similar to its counterparts in other countries. But faced with a weak global economy, this year China and the rest of the world are focusing more than usual on the Chinese economy and the impending leadership transition this fall. For example, Japanese broadcaster NHK covered the social issues that China is struggling to address and speculated on the transition of the country’s top leaders, many of whom are expected to step down to make way for a younger generation later this year. Here's the story.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: March 5, 2012

Reporter:
This is the Great Hall of the People where the annual conference of the National People’s Congress is taking place. About 3,000 delegates from all over China have gathered here in Beijing. Premier Wen Jiabao used a two-hour speech on the first day of the congress to outline the government’s policies for the coming year. He said China’s leaders would put the brakes on their speedy economy and shift from growth to stability.

Wen Jiabao, Chinese Premier:
The target for this year’s economic growth is to increase GDP by 7.5 percent. We hope to make economic development more sustainable and efficient so as to achieve higher level, higher quality development over a longer period of time.

Reporter:
Chinese officials had kept the target at around 8 percent for the past 7 years. Wen blamed the change on the international credit crisis and domestic problems, such as inflation. He also frankly addressed some of the other issues facing the government.

Wen Jiabao:
Problems concerning land expropriation, housing demolition, workplace safety, food and drug safety, and income distribution are still very serious. And the people are still very concerned about them.

Reporter:
Many Chinese people are frustrated with corruption or local bureaucrats for neglecting their duties. The government seems to be trying to maintain social stability to ensure a smooth power transition this fall by placing priority on people over economic growth.

This shift in policy is not the only thing attracting public interest. The congress session is also an occasion to speculate on the leadership change that's expected at the Communist Party’s convention this fall.

The nine-member Politburo Standing Committee effectively controls China, a country that's been ruled by one political party since 1949. The committee's getting an overhaul. Seven members will likely be replaced by younger leaders at this fall's convention.

Vice President Xi Jinping is expected to assume the post of general secretary, putting him on track to become president of China next year. Vice Premier Li Keqiang will likely become his premier. Bo Xilai is widely expected to join the Standing Committee. Right now, he's the secretary of the Communist Party's Chongqing Committee. Bo is currently involved in a controversy. We learned just before the congress opened that one of his close aides is being investigated on corruption and other charges. Bo seems to be trying to show things are business as usual. He's attending the meetings at the congress. But some observers say the series of developments may have some impact on China's change of leadership.

The power struggle over top posts appears to be accelerating, and there's a lot of speculation here in Beijing. People in China and other countries are closely watching the congress to see what party leaders will do.
 
 

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