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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

Three Party Talks Promise Action if DPRK Tests Nukes
(LinkAsia: May 25, 2012)
Yul Kwon:
Senior diplomats from South Korea, the United States, and Japan met in Seoul to discuss North Korea. They agreed to take concerted action against the Communist regime if it tests another nuclear weapon. Here’s NHK with the report.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: May 21, 2012

Reporter:
The diplomats are chief delegates to the six-party talks on the North’s nuclear program. It’s the first time the group’s met since North Korean authorities failed last month to launch what they called a rocket.

Shinsuke Sugiyama, Japanese Foreign Ministry:
If DPRK goes for further escalation, we ought to take unified and coordinated actions and responses.

Glyn Davies, US Special Representative for North Korea Policy:
We’re united in our resolve to respond. Not just the three allies, but Russia and China as well.

Reporter:
US delegate Glyn Davies again pushed China to play a greater role in preventing North Korean officials from carrying out provocative acts. The UN Security Council adopted a statement condemning last month’s launch. That sparked concerns the North’s leaders could respond with a new nuclear test.
 
 

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Tokyo Skytree Becomes City's Iconic Symbol
(LinkAsia: May 25, 2012)
Yul Kwon:
Over in Japan, a new building called the Tokyo Skytree has now claimed the title of the world's tallest tower. Now just to give you some perspective, it's twice the height of the Eiffel Tower. And just as the Eiffel Tower has come to symbolize Paris, the Skytree may one day become synonymous with Tokyo. Here's NHK with the story.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: May 22, 2012

Reporter:
Many of the features of this broadcasting tower can be seen in this country's shrines and temples. For example, if you look at it from certain angles, the tower appears to have both concave and convex curves. But the cylindrical concrete pillar at the center of the Skytree is most noticeable. The column is structurally isolated from the surrounding steel frame. Designers borrowed this idea from traditional five-story pagodas.

When an earthquake happens, there will be a lag so the column and the frame sway at different speeds. Engineers have also installed tremor-absorbing oil dampers between the column and the steel frame. And there's more. The structure's steel beams are twice as strong as those normally used in high-rise buildings. Operators say these measures will reduce the Skytree's swaying by half.
 
 

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Japan Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Okinawa Handover
(LinkAsia: May 18, 2012)
Sydnie Kohara:
Okinawa has been at the heart of Japan-US relations for decades. It was under US administration after the end of World War Two until it was handed back to Japan on May 15, 1972. But even now, American military bases still take up large parts of the main island. Residents and leaders recently came together to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the handover.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: May 15, 2012

Reporter:
About 1,200 people attended the ceremony at the Okinawa Convention Center. Among them, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, US Ambassador to Japan John Roos, and local representatives. Noda used his speech to stress his government's efforts to strengthen Okinawa's economy and said he's committed to change.

Yoshihiko Noda, Japanese Prime Minister:
I'm fully aware of the heavy burden US military facilities are imposing on people in Okinawa. I reiterate my determination to reduce the burden on the prefecture quickly, visibly, and specifically, while maintaining the deterrence.

Reporter:
The remarks by US Ambassador to Japan John Roos touched on the impact the American military presence has had on Okinawa.

John Roos, US Ambassador to Japan:
As it has been in the past, our alliance continues to be indispensable to our future, and we, as Americans, recognize the sacrifices the people of Okinawa have made to keep this critical alliance strong.

Reporter:
For many islanders, the return of Okinawa offered the promise of stability and basic human rights under the Japanese constitution. However, some also say it marked the beginning of another age of hardship.
 
 

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A Former Governor's Post-US Okinawa Perspective
(LinkAsia: May 18, 2012)
Sydnie Kohara:
In the 1990s, former Okinawa Governor Masahide Ohta led a protest movement to get American military bases out of the prefecture. NHK interviewed Ohta to get his take on life in Okinawa since the 1972 handover.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: May 15, 2012

Reporter:
Now 86 years old, Ohta served as the Okinawan governor from 1990 to 1998. After surviving the war, he devoted himself to studies at universities in Okinawa, Tokyo and the United States to try and understand why his island had to make such a great sacrifice.

During his tenure as governor, the Okinawan peoples' anti-US sentiment exploded after the rape of a teenage girl by three US marine soldiers.

In 1996, after a series of negotiations with the Pentagon and Tokyo, Ohta won a concession. The US agreed to withdraw some bases from Okinawa, including the notorious Futenma Marine Air Station.

However, after the governor retired from politics, the base issue became deadlocked over where to relocate it.

Masahide Ohta, Former Okinawa Governor:
People believe so strongly that Okinawan military bases should be cut down and similar to the amount on mainland Japan, but this was not done. So nowadays, there's great disappointment and anger towards the central government. Local people feel that they are betrayed by their current central government after 40 years of reversion.

Reporter:
Anything have changed about the issue of the bases?

Masahide Ohta, Former Okinawa Governor:
Nothing has changed at all. It is even worse.

Reporter:
Ohta survived the Battle of Okinawa as a child soldier. He says the sacrifice of a third of the islanders made him determined to eliminate military bases from his homeland.

Masahide Ohta, Former Okinawa Governor:
I'm afraid unless the people understand the terrible experiences of local people during the Battle of Okinawa, they could not understand why local people are strongly opposed to the US military bases. We believe that local people be protected by the Japanese defense forces, but we were wrong, because Japanese defense forces soldiers killed the local people. They ordered mothers to kill their child simply to keep quiet so that they wouldn't be found out by the enemy forces. So we saw at the front lines such terrible things, which we never dreamed of. So we are very much disappointed in the way that the military does not protect the civilians when the war occurs.

Reporter:
Ohta is frustrated by the indifference of the majority of Japanese towards the US military presence, which could lead to the permanent establishment of bases in Okinawa.

Masahide Ohta, Former Okinawa Governor:
Japanese central government always says that the US-Japan security treaty is so important. It's national interest of Japan. And in order to maintain the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region, US military bases on Okinawa are indispensable. However, even though they insist that the US-Japan security treaty is so important and it's national interest, the rest of mainland Japan does not want to bring in the military bases to their own backyard.

Reporter:
What do you think about that?

Masahide Ohta, Former Okinawa Governor:
This is nonsense for us, because if it's national interest, they should share the burden, and also obligation, under the name of democracy. In democracy, majority rules, you know? So that the Okinawans lose, Okinawa province will not be served unless those majority pay attention or take Okinawan province as their own province.

Reporter:
Ohta says an increase in the number of young islanders who can clearly say no to what they see as an unfair burden could achieve an Okinawa without bases.

Masahide Ohta, Former Okinawa Governor:
We watch the current situation among the local youngsters. Voices of Okinawa should be independent if the central government tries Okinawan people as they used to. We do not bear any longer. The central government has to listen to the minority groups, people like Okinawan people. I have the hope that they will change.
 
 

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'Smart Homes' Take Off in Japan
(LinkAsia: May 11, 2012)
Sydnie Kohara:
Soon, controlling all home appliances with the ease of one computer screen won't be just for people like Bill Gates. From the folks who brought you the Nintendo Game Boy and the Toyota Prius, some new gadgets now that allow you to control your house remotely and even save electricity while doing it. NHK reports on Japan's latest inventions.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: May 7, 2012

Reporter:
Major house builder Sekisui House is selling this home. It takes advantage of three types of energy--solar, traditional fuel and a battery unit--to keep everything running. In the event of a power outage, power comes from the battery unit. The wired house keeps track of electricity and gas use, reducing utility charges.

Tsutomu Shimizu, Sekisui House:
Last year was year one for the smart house. This year, they will start to take off.

Reporter:
Engineers at Honda began testing last month on a vehicle that uses a battery powered in part by solar panels on the car's exterior. The car is the ultimate remote control. The driver can use it to adjust conditions at home. Commands are transmitted to a small house through the car's satellite navigation system. This makes it easy to run a bath or turn up the heat before they even turn into the driveway. The engineers hope to put their smart car on the market within a couple of years.

Yoshiharu Yamamoto, Honda:
We can provide a better quality of life with a car that uses solar energy and an interactive function for smart houses. This will help us to expand sales.

Reporter:
Electronics appliance maker NEC Corporation started selling an electricity storage system in March. It gathers electricity generated by the sun and power taken from the grid during the night when prices are lower. Manufacturers are betting on smart technology as part of the solution to Japan's energy supply problems.

Sydnie Kohara:
There's another appliance that Japan has perfected, and I'm sure we all wish we had one. A smart toilet. Now we won't talk about all the things it does, but let's just say that according to the manufacturer, Toto, the computerized toilet can cut toilet paper usage by 90 percent.
 
 

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