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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

Japan Revamping Social Security as Population Ages
(LinkAsia: June 29, 2012)
Yul Kwon:
Welcome back to LinkAsia. Japanese leaders are looking into the future and seeing red. The country's national debt is growing, and so is the number of senior citizens who rely on government support. So Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his allies in parliament are trying to shore up the country's finances by doubling the consumption tax and revamping the social security system. Here's the report from NHK.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: June 26, 2012

Reporter:
One bill would increase the tax on goods and services from 5 to 10 percent by 2015. Three hundred and sixty three lawmakers voted in favor of it. Ninety-six voted against it.

Politicians hopes the revenues will help them pay down Japan's substantial debt. They also want to cover the rapid rise in spending on things such as pensions.

The opposition Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito Party voted with the governing coalition, but 57 members of the ruling Democratic Party voted against the consumption tax bill. They include former party leader, Ichiro Ozawa. 16 other DPJ members abstained or were absent.

The set of reforms were sent to the upper house, where they are expected to be passed into law. Prime Minister Noda spoke a few hours after the lower house vote and stressed the significance of the reform bills.

Yoshihiko Noda, Japanese Prime Minister:
There is no time to waste in reforming the social security system. The aim of the plan, comprehensive reforms, is to secure a stable financial source for social security services, and at the same time, improve fiscal health. That stable financial source is the consumption tax.

Yul Kwon:
Pushing through the unpopular consumption tax could cost Noda his political career. And waiting in the wings, if that happens, is Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto. He's founded a new party, called the Osaka Restoration Party. And there are rumors that he's hoping to cash in on the public's dissatisfaction with the political establishment.
 
 

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Japan's Tourism Industry Bounces Back
(LinkAsia: June 29, 2012)
Yul Kwon:
It doesn't appear that tattoos on public employees are scaring away any tourists. Japan's tourism industry is experiencing a comeback this year after last year's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters. While American and European tourists are just starting to trickle in, visitors from other Asian countries are surging, despite the strong yen and the high prices. Japanese broadcaster NHK has the story.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: June 22, 2012

Mitsuko Nishikawa, NHK World Reporter:
One of Tokyo's most popular destinations, Asakusa, is once again enjoying a continuous flow of tourists from across the world.

Shop owner:
We see more and more foreign visitors everyday.

Mitsuko Nishikawa, NHK World Reporter:
The government's tourism organization says 669,000 travelers visited Japan in May. That's 87 percent up from last year, right after the March 11th catastrophe, and about 7 percent down from 2010.

Visitors from Asian countries, such as China, contributed dramatically to this return to pre-March 11th figures. But tourists from the United States and Europe have yet to make a comeback.

Tourists from other countries are filling their places. Tourism officials say more people from emerging economies in Southeast Asia are coming to Japan. The number of visitors from Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam hit a record high for the month of May.

Indonesian Tourists:
Yeah, today I bring my kids. I bring them to Disneyland yesterday. And maybe tomorrow we will be going to Mt. Fuji. We are ready for a vacation.

Indonesian Tour Guide:
Last year, they don't want to come to Japan because Fukushima problem. But this year, I think that Japan will be popular. And they want to visit Japan because of food and culture and people.

Mitsuko Nishikawa, NHK World Reporter:
Nowadays, yen is quite high.

Indian Tourists:
Yes, that we know. You go to have your chance when the time is right. We can't wait tomorrow.

Mitsuko Nishikawa, NHK World Reporter:
The Japanese government is aiming to attract more and more tourists from Asian emerging economies. This month, the foreign ministry launched a program to issue multiple-entry visas for Thai tourists.

Norifumi Ide, Commissioner, Japan Tourism Agency:
The recovery of tourism isn't happening that fast. The government, the private sector and municipalities have to roll up our sleeves and work closely together to attract more visitors.

Mitsuko Nishikawa, NHK World Reporter:
The strength of the yen means a trip to Japan can be expensive. But many visitors I've spoken to say cost isn't a concern. The Japanese economy still has a long way to go before it fully recovers from last year's disaster. But with the help of visitors from emerging economies, it might get back on track faster.

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Yul Kwon:
If you're thinking about visiting Japan, but still worried about radiation, Japan's tourism bureau offers a radiation map so you can check out radiation levels for yourself. It also gives you a chart showing that you'd be exposed to less radiation in Japan than in some parts of Brazil.
 
 

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Baby Rhino Gives New Hope to Endangered Species
(LinkAsia: June 29, 2012)
Yul Kwon:
Over in Indonesia, the country is celebrating a very special birth. The baby's name is Andatu. He was born after an 18-month pregnancy and weighed about 60 pounds. Andatu is one of about 200 critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros. He’s only the fifth Sumatran rhino to be born in captivity. And NHK explains that his birth gives symbolic and literal hope to a species struggling to survive.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: June 26, 2012

Reporter:
Indonesia's forestry minister announced the arrival of the baby rhino on Monday. The male calf was born two days earlier in a national park on the island of Sumatra. He’s named Andatu, from the Indonesian words meaning "gift from God." The last time a Sumatran rhino was born in captivity in Asia was 1889.

Zulkifli Hasan, Indonesian Forestry Minister:
The rhino birth will be a milestone for the conservation of the Sumatran rhinoceros and is expected to increase confidence in the international community and government efforts to conserve endangered species in Indonesia, especially rhinos.

Reporter:
The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that there are just 200 wild Sumatran rhinos left in Indonesia and Malaysia. The organization lists them as critically endangered.

Yul Kwon:
By the way, did you know that you can adopt a Javan rhino? The World Wide Fund for Nature offers a Basic Adoption Package for just $30. You can’t actually take the rhino home with you, but your money will help support it. And if you really want to make a difference, you can buy the Platinum Adoption Package for $12,000. It includes a lot of perks, including an eight-day trip to see your foster rhino.
 
 

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The Contrasting the Stories of Two Chinese Women

 
 

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Pakistan's Twitterati Reacts to Gilani Dismissal

 
 

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