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tv   Newsline  PBS  July 29, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm PDT

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welcome to "newsline." i'm michio kijima in tokyo with the news at this hour. the japanese government estimates the country will face a power supply shortage of around 10% next summer if all of its nuclear reactor goes offline. a government panel gave the estimate on friday at a meeting attended by prime minister naoto kan. all of the reactors could be offline by next spring for safety inspections resuming operations could take longer than usual because of the government recently introduced additional safety checks called stress tests.
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the panel said that if all of the country's reactors are down, the power supply will be about 10% short of peak demand in eastern japan and 8% in western japan. it also estimates that additional fuel costs around $38 billion will be incurred if utilities make up for the shortage through thermal generation. the panel called for introducing power-saving home appliances, industrial equipment to avoid rolling blackouts or mandatory power xupts it also stressed a need to promote renewable energy. the government will soon draft a three-year energy plan that is expected to include measures to cope with expected power shortages. it plans to include costs for the measures in a third extra bu people in japan are pushing ahead with a slow and daunting task of cleaning up following
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the march 11th earthquake and tsunami. next comes the rebuilding effort, the biggest job of its kind in this country since world war ii. on friday the japanese government's reconstruction task force released its basic policy. >> translator: at the reconstruction task force meeting held a short while ago, the government adopted a basic policy on reconstruction. in a concentrated five-year period, the government will take financial measures of at least 19 trillion yen. the government will issue reconstruction bonds and will secure financial resources for their redemption. based on this policy, we will compile the third supplementary budget and will accelerate efforts to rebuild the affected areas. >> about $294 billion will be spent over a period of ten years
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in the areas devastated by the disaster. more than 80% of that, or $243 billion, will be used during the first five years on intensive restoration work. the policy calls for the establishment of special zones where deregulation will be promoted and fast-track procedures made available to utilize land. preferential tax treatment and other financial help will also be offered. in addition, the reconstruction plan calls for the creation of a system that will allow affected municipalities to use state subsidies at their discretion to fund necessary projects. the government is also aiming to promote the construction of advanced solar energy and wind power generation systems. it wants to make the disaster area a hub for renewable energy businesses. it also envisions creating ecotowns. the government says it will cover the costs of this nearly $300 billion reconstruction
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effort with spending cuts and by issuing deficit recovery bonds. the government is considering a tax hike of about $128 billion to fund part of the reconstruction. but kan gave up mentioning the idea in the policy because of strong opposition from within his own ruling party. the reconstruction policy is based on proposals by an advisory panel. it spent three months discussing how japan should rebuild its devastated northeast coast. the panel compiled its first list of recommendations in june focusing on the most urgent aspects of rebuilding. its ultimate goal was to come up with a creative reconstruction plan and not just call for a return to the way things were before the disaster. in a minute, we'll get some insight from the panel's chair. first, some background on how the proposals came to be. prime minister naoto kan set up an advisory panel in april to
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discuss a blueprint for reconstruction and come up with innovative rebuilding plans. the panel brought together a variety of experts in politics, the economy, finance and revitalization. it also interviewed the governors of the hardest-hit prefectures. the chair is also president of japan's national defense academy. his experience with reconstruction projects goes back to 1995 when the region of kobe in western japan was devastated by a major earthquake. his house was one of the many that were destroyed. at the time his panel, he went on to serve as a member of a think tank that proposed reconstruction ideas. following the march 11th disaster, he visited the three hardest hit areas. after that, the panel compiled its first report titled "hope amid disaster." it submitted the document to the government at the end of june.
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among the recommendations is a plan to rebuild towns on higher ground to minimize the impact of future disasters. the panel also referred to the nuclear accident at fukushima daiichi. it underlined the need to set up a venue between consultations between the national government and prefectural authorities to ensure the revitalization of areas affected by the nuclear accident. the issue of paying for the reconstruction effort is also addressed in the panel's report. an increase of core taxes is recommended to avoid transferring the financial burden to future generations. and the chair of the government's advisory panel on reconstruction is with us now. the interview will be conducted in japanese with a translation provided by interpreters. >> translator: thank you for joining us. could you tell us about the philosophy behind the panel's reconstruction blueprint?
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>> translator: there are two main aspects. first, our reconstruction blueprint describes our strong determination that we will not forsake disaster-hit areas. we will continue to take care of the victims, and we will always be with them. in other words, the blueprint is a clear statement that we will support the reconstruction of the disaster-hit areas through solidarity and sharing. at the same time, the blueprint for reconstruction must contain feasible and reasonable policies that will be implemented by the government. so it must propose actionable approaches. >> translator: you yourself were
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the victims of the great hanshin earthquake 16 years ago. how has your experience as a victim reflected on the blueprint? >> translator: i think the way the government handled the kobe quake was insufficient because the government was willing to appropriate budget for restoration but not for reconstruction. in other words, the government said it's okay to use the national budget to restore what it used to be but not fair to build something better because kobe was relatively an affluent region. if kobe was build something better, it must use its own municipal budget. that was the stance of the national government. but this time the national government must do whatever it can do to help rebuild the tohoku region. that's how i feel from my experience in kobe. >> translator: why does your reconstruction plan call for taxes to be increased in japan?
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>> translator: the reconstruction of tohoku will require more money than kobe, but we cannot pass it down to future generations because japan is aging, and its averse rates are declining. we cannot leave too much burden on our children and grandchildren. so we must make up our mind to support reconstruction with the current generation. of course, government bonds must be issued to raise funds at first. but that must be led to a special procurement boom and national debts must be paid off with tax revenues. otherwise, our economy will face a dire situation in the long run. >> translator: strong political leadership is needed to implement your panel's reconstruction proposal. but opposition government lawmakers are calling on prime minister naoto kan to resign.
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this political crisis is creating concern about the government's ability to take action on this blueprint. what do you have to say to japan's political leaders? >> translator: right after the disaster, the people around the world saw the victims and were impressed with the way they remained calm and endured hardship. japan's self-defense forces and other rescue teams also did a great job. those who were at the forefront of rescue operations and reconstruction are great, but why aren't the politicians doing enough? at the time of crisis, they must set aside party differences and unite themselves in handling the crisis. otherwise, we cannot be a great nation. japan is now in a vulnerable situation. the success in reconstruction depends on whether or not politicians can get together and
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implement effective policies. >> translator: how do you think japan should change in an effort to implement the reconstruction plan? >> translator: before answering that question, let me tell you what japan has achieved so far. looking back upon the past, we can say japan is a resilient country that can rise up from scratch. at the time of the kobe quake, foreign people came to the city just three years after the quake and said they could see no more scars of the disaster. the city recovered so quickly. kobe also built disaster reduction center which is a venue for united nations conference on disaster reduction. it serves as the research center, playing an important role in the world.
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the center was built after the quake. this is a typical example of creative reconstruction. i want to say we should get together once again this time. all of the people in japan with the help from the world should work toward this goal. after the march disaster, people around the world gave us a lot of assistance and donations. we should never forget their goodwill and compassion. we should support the tohoku region, and not just restoring what it used to be. we should aim to make it as the most advanced region in japan. we need to turn this crisis into an opportunity for revival of the entire country. >> translator: thank you, mr. iokibe. >> that was makoto iokibe, the chair of the government's advisory panel on reconstruction. nhk world's political commentator is with us tonight. masao, japan's basic reconstruction policy seems straight forward but tell us
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about the issues regarding funding. >> well, the massive rebuilding project is supposed to help the world's third largest economy pull out of a post-disaster slump. and with moderate growth. but covering the huge cost is proving to be a challenge. the government considered a temporary tax hike to raise about $128 billion to fund part of the reconstruction. essentially to redeem bonds. but strong opposition from within prime minister naoto kan's own ruling democratic party forced him to abandon the idea for now. opinions remain divided over if or when taxes should be raised. some ruling party members against the hike insisting that it will slow down the economy. the government plans to mainly increase court access but it hasn't announced a target, the
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income, corporate or consumption tax. >> what's the background of the inclusion of a renewable energy plan in the policy? >> the nuclear accident and ongoing crisis at the nuclear fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant has created widespread support for renewable resources in japan. the public wants the government to do more to generate green energy. prime minister kan has pushed for the creation of a society that will be less dependent on nuclear power. but the development of nuclear resources won't be easy. mostly because of the higher costs. >> it took more than 4 1/2 months for the kan administration to coming up with a blueprint for their administration. how fast will it be able to implement it? >> oh, it won't be easy. the biggest obstacle is the confusion in japan's politics. this country may soon have its
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sixth prime minister in five years. prime minister kan has been under fire for his handling of the disaster and nuclear crisis. he has already announced his intention to step down. many politicians even in the ruling dpj say an outgoing premier cannot handle important and future oriented policies. tax hikes and renewable energy included. the main opposition liberal democrats and a number of kan's own democratic party members want a new prime minister so they can work closely together on the reconstruction policy. but even though the approval rating for kan's cabinet is at the record low, the prime minister is still trying to keep the timing of his departure vague, which is causing frustrati frustration. it is certain to further delay japan's biggest reconstruction effort since the world war --
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since the end of world war ii. >> we sure hope that won't happen. nhk world's political commentator masayo nakajima with us tonight. thanks, masayo. south korea has warned japan that a group of japanese lawmakers will not be permitted to visit a south korean island near disputed territory in the sea of japan. seoul says it can't guarantee their safety if they carry out their planned trip. four lawmakers from the major opposition liberal democratic party plan to visit lulu island. the island lies near the takeshima island which are claimed by both countries. they are known at tokuto in south korea. on friday, south korea's deputy foreign minister summoned japan's ambassador to south korea to convey the entry ban.
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kim says such a visit could have a negative impact on bilateral relations. the japanese ambassador asked south korea to reconsider its decision and allow the lawmakers entry. he called south korea's decision regrettable and added the visit is not intended to harm bilateral ties. earlier in the day, japan's foreign minister urged the two sides to deal with the matter calmly. >> translator: the relations between south korea and japan are very important. both sides should handle the matter in a calm manner. next we go to our bureau in bangkok. patchari raksawong has the latest. >> reporter: vietnam's state broadcaster on thursday reported in detail on a meeting of asean navy chiefs taking place in hanoi. the report emphasized the need for asean members to cooperate
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over their territorial disputes with china. nhk world's akiko has the story from hanoi. >> reporter: the ten asean members hold a meeting once every two years. the event previously focused on nurturing relationships, but this year, the fifth meeting took a different cause. vietnam's state-run media said that for the first time, the meeting adapted an official agenda. namely, cooperation for maritime peace and security. >> translator: the security situation in the south china sea is tense. asean countries are concerned over infringements on their sovereignty. >> reporter: the state
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broadcaster acts as a mouth piece for the vietnamese ruling party -- as major news on tuesday underlines just how critical the south china sea issue is to vietnam. vietnam is one of several asean countries that claim disputed islands also claimed by china. the south china sea issue was also on the agenda at last week's asean regional forum. but observers point out that not all asean members share the same level of commitment to standing up to china. with asean nations expecting negotiating with china, a legal binding code of conduct for the south china sea, it's essential for vietnam that all the member countries act in unity. hanoi is likely to deepen cooperation within asean on various levels in aid to keep
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china in check. akiko ichihara, nhk world, hanoi. and next in remote parts of western thailand, local people depend on river water for many aspects of daily life. but serious pollution in one village has caused sickness and even death. the children of the village recently took to the stage in bangkok to share their tragic story. nhk world has more. ♪ >> reporter: these ethnic children are acting out in their village at an art center in bangkok. the 15-minute performance
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contains a serious message about threats to thaila's natural environme environment. >> translator: it made me realize that it's a very serious problem. lead pollution has caused massive damage to those children and their village. in the remote village of klity, this creek is the lifeline. for centuries, villages have used its water for drinking, cooking, feeding livestock and farming crops. 13 years ago, a lead processing plant began operating up stream. soon the water began to smell. many people fell ill. children were born with mental disabilities. villagers filed lawsuits and the plant was closed, but years later, the creek is still
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contaminated. neither the authorities nor the mining company have done anything to clean it. >> translator: sometimes we go fishing. fish in the creek eat lead. we eat the fish so our bodies are full of lead. >> reporter: the man behind the project believes art helps the villagers share their story and come to terms with what has happened. >> translator: these remote villagers don't have any way to demand the compensation they are entitled to. so we help them do so through art. >> reporter: the children do the crafts and paintings. this video shows how the poisoned creek is still a playground.
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>> reporter: the 11-day exhibition succeeded in raising more than $10,000 for the village. these colorful paintings reflect how the children of klity see the world. despite the grim situation they are hoping that the tragedy will soon be detailed of t ee eed of. with up to 40 times the recommended safe amount of lead in their bodies, the villagers already face an uncertain future. but through art, at least their voices are finally being heard. and with that, we wrap up our
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bulletin. i'm patchari raksawong in bangkok. hi there and welcome back. let's take a look at your weather update. we've got two storms to talk about. first of all, let's start with tropical storm muifa headed towards southern islands of japan. it looks like it will be intensifying into a severe tropical storm by sunday morning. it may even become a very strong typhoon. so we do really need to keep track of this system as it heads towards japan. well, here, this is nocks-ten, a tropical storm as of now. it has just made landfall in the hainan island. it will cross over the island and over the gulf of tonkin, make another landfall in northern vietnam. and it will become a tropical depression by sunday night.
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but it will still bring torrential rain in some parts of the area even up to 300 millimeters or more in the next 48 hours. now, the system will be bringing lots of rain towards southern china around the guangdong province and also taiwan as well. it's going to enhance the southwest monsoon. and so it will bring lots of torrential rain and allows vietnam and also thailand, also philippines as well. torrential rain will up the risk of flooding and mudslides. now, we had torrential amount of rain in the korean peninsula as well. but floos a band of very heavy rain in central china and all the way up to the north. now this one around beijing will be bringing lots of heavy rain again to the korean peninsula. no more rain is welcome there, but unfortunately into your weekend, the korean peninsula will be seeing another heavy downpour again. tokyo, we're looking at 26 degrees. another -- again, the heat wave
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is afecting chongqing, 37. shanghai, 37. southeast china, please be careful of heat strokes if you are in those vicinities. heading over to north america, let's first of all talk about tropical storm don. this is steadily moving towards the southeastern coast of texas. we have a tropical storm warning just here in the pink line. it's going to be bringing damaging winds, high waves and swells of the ocean. so please do stay away from the coastal sides, if possible. another place we're looking at severe weather is just around the new england, northeast, damaging winds, large hail, maybe even tornadoes may not be even ruled out there. we are looking at another system in the northern plains and into ontario. some severe thunderstorms may be seen there as well. the heat wave still prevails in southern central and into the mid-atlantic.
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washington, d.c., this is about six degrees above average. 37 degrees. heading over to europe, we still have that upper level low that is covering much of the central europe and into eastern europe. so it's going to be looking like messy conditions. this active low pressure system lingering over the baltic sea is going to be bringing severe weather across southern sweden and bringing it down towards germany and poland into your saturday. now, we're going to be looking at severe thunderstorms, scattered showers. also in italy, alpine regions and also into the balkans. out to the west, though, looking pretty dry and sunny for you out there. we'll be seeing temperatures rise in southwest spain and also portugal. and also ankara, we're looking at about 37 degrees. so the heat is rising in the west. but moscow, finally, the heat is cooling down. we're in our 20s. so that's all for me for today.
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that's our broadcast for this hour on "newsline." we'll be back with more news in
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