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tv   Newsline  PBS  November 11, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm PST

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cautious approach. >> tpp. >> japanese prime minister yoshihiko noda plays it safe regarding negotiations on a massive free trade pact known as the tpp. good evening, i'm michio kijima in tokyo, this is "newsline". japanese prime minister yoshihiko noda is doing a delicate political dance over a divisive issue. he spoke today about whether japan will join negotiations on a massive free trade agreement known as the trans-pacific partnership, or tpp.
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>> translator: i've decided japan will start discussions with other tpp-related countries about joining the tpp talks. this will happen on the weekend at the asia-pacific economic cooperation summit in honolulu. i'm fully aware of the benefits as well as the concerns pointed out over the matter. through the discussions with other countries we'll strive to collect information on what they expect from japan and by carrying out thorough public debate on the matter with national interest as the top priority in my mind i'll seek to reach a conclusion on the tpp. >> the tpp will eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers among member countries in the asia-pacific region. big business is for it.
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farmers, fishermen and co-ops are against it. prime minister noda says the tpp will help japan tap into the growing power of the asian economy and pass wealth on to the next generation, but he also mentioned the drawbacks of joining the trade pact. he says tpp might have a negative impact on japan's medical system, traditional culture and beautiful villages, things that have been protected for a long time. reporters asked the prime minister why he won't give a clear answer about whether japan will join the tpp negotiations. noda said, tonight's announcement is a step towards making the trade agreement work for japan. here's some reactions to noda's remarks on the tpp. >> translator: we want the government to take part in high-level efforts to set rules for trade and investment in the asia pacific region. we call on the government to try to maximize japan's national interests through sure-footed negotiations.
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noda's announcement makes it easier for japan to gather information. so we want the government to collect accurate information about the negotiations. >> translator: the government needs to tackle the preparatory consultation with a zero-tolerance approach. it must not make concessions that threaten the safety standard of food, the food self-sufficiency rate, or the universal health care system. we want full disclosure on what is being negotiated. if our demand is not accepted, we'll call for an end to the negotiations. critics fear they'll be hurt by foreign competition but proponents say japan would only benefit. >> translator: japan should take part in the negotiations for the tpp talks.
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>> most business leaders support the pact, arguing it will boost marketing helping japan's automobile and tv makers. the scope of the tpp goes beyond manufacturing. the deal spreads across sectors. agriculture, public works, intellectual property, insurance, medical care, labor regulations. negotiations are now under way among nine countries, including the united states, singapore, australia, new zealand and vietnam. [ chanting ] farmers, fishermen and co-ops are opposed to the pact. about 6,000 protesters turned out for this rally tuesday in tokyo. farmers say they'll be unable to
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compete once low-priced domestic imports enter the market. rice farmers worry about foreign competition. so do dairy and beef producers. negotiators haven't finalized the specifics of the tpp. still, japan's entry into the pact will dramatically alter the dynamics of the partnership. >> nhk world's political commentator, masayo nakajima joints us now. opponents insist it's too early to join the talks. what do you make of the timing of the move? >> well, the prime minister wanted to make the decision before he meets u.s. president barack obama this weekend on the sidelines of the apec forum. the economies of the other countries expected to join the tpp are also of japan and the u.s. so the tpp can be seen as a free trade agreement between the two nations.
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the obama administration has been putting pressure on noda, because the tpp has u.s. could enhance u.s. exports, especially on other agriculture. u.s. officials have indicated that the u.s. will no longer look, regard japan as a reliable partner if noda does not demonstrate some goodwill. obama faces a tight race in his battle for re-election next year. he wants to eliminate as many obstacles as possible beforehand. the japanese prime minister's office, meantime, has had a revolving door of prime ministers in prevent years. so noda wants to shore up japan's relationship with the united states, and noda has electoral domestic concerns of his own. he took office only two months ago, but his public approval ratings are already slipping. he faces a divided diet where his government cannot pass bills without help from the opposition parties.
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so making better leadership with japan's closest ally might help. >> masayo, china, the second largest economy in the world, is staying away from these talks. we can't ignore this fact. what does that mean for japan? >> well, the japanese government believes that cooperating with other countries will contain china's power. beijing has been building up the chinese military in recent years, and becoming more assertive. so many of the neighboring countries including japan are trying to check china's moves by moving closer to the united states. >> i'm sure noda wants to convince opponents, because this is the only way for japan's economy to survive. right? >> that's right. well, you know, japanese population is shrinking and aging, and noda says that the country needs to look overseas more. for growth.
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japanese businesses are hampered by a strong yen recently and worry about their competitiveness will erode further if the country is left out of the trade pact. tpp could create a trade pact free trade zone bigger than the european union. and south korea compete heads on with japan in autos and electronics. it already has a free trade agreement with the eu and a similar pact has been approved by the u.s. congress. so noda hopes to keep up and to bolster growth through more active asia-pacific. commerce. but negotiating japan's way through domestic as well as international negotiations won't be an easy one. >> nhk world's political commentator, masayo nakajima reporting for us tonight. masayo, thank you, we appreciate it. it's been eight months since the march 11th disaster in northeast japan. however, there's a long way to go before full-fledged reconstruction can be carried
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out. police say close to 20,000 people have been confirmed dead or remain missing as of november 10th. 15,770 people are confirmed dead. and 3,648 remain missing in the devastated prefectures of miyagi, iwate and fukushima. reconstruction plans for the disaster-hit areas have been drawn up by eight local governments in iwate, and seven in miyagi. the government's newly-established rebuilding subsidies and other funds will shoulder all costs for relocation of residents to higher ground or other regions. however, no criteria has been set to assess the value of the flooded land the government will purchase from owners. local residents will need more time to form a consensus on mass relocations and reconstruction projects. some residents are spending the day remembering. others, rebuilding. they've got to work fast with winter approaching. morning temperatures dropped to
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3 degrees celsius in the town of minamisanriku in miyagi prefecture. the disaster destroyed many of the town's homes and left 900 residents dead or missing. workers erected a flower altar in front of the town's disaster preparedness center. about 30 officials died there when the tsunami washed through. >> people in ofunatu city who lost relatives visited a graveyard to remember.
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construction workers in miyagi prefecture are rushing to build temporary housing facilities, insulating walls and installing windows to protect residents against the cold. local government officials say construction will take until the end of this year. many survivors of the march 11th disaster are still suffering hardships, even if they didn't lose anybody. even if their homes remain intact. on this week's "the road ahead," we catch up with volunteers working with these survivors. to give them exactly what they need. nhk world's jun yotsumoto has the story.
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>> reporter: volunteers deliver foods to this tsunami survivor in ofunato, iwate. gaku uchikoshi founded the group and focuses on meeting survivors face to face to find out what they need now. >> reporter: these volunteers work with uchikoshi, their group is called project next. some of them lost parents. some lost houses. some lost jobs. they are victims, too. 44-year-old uchikoshi's volume work goes along with his day job, as a dentist. >> translator: what i thought was a serious problem was that there was a huge gap between
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those who received support and those who do not. we would like to set up a safety net for people who have slipped through the cracks. >> reporter: project next volunteers order supplies through this online shopping site. they push emergencies to the top of the rankings. people who want to donate click on the items they want. amazon then ships the supplies to project next. volunteers take a picture when supplies are delivered to a survivor. the picture is uploaded. then the donor knows that his or her donation has reached the survivor. satoru sakai is one of those who received help. he used to run a ramen shop in
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ofunato city. the tsunami washed it away. he lost his income, his savings are running out. >> translator: we are forced to lead a miserable life now. >> reporter: donors from all over japan sent help. not only food, but all these things, too. sake said the got whl gave him energy to reopen his shop. >> this man lives in fujisawa, far from the disaster area. he responded to sake's wish and clicked on a cd player for when the shop reopens. >> he said that he appreciated that the cd player, which i gave or donated.
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so that payback is very unique. and i have not seen it before. so i feel like i'm connected with him now. >> reporter: still, not everything is going smoothly. project next relies on the charity of donors. and the group has a lot of expenses. uchikoshi's dental clinic has been in the red for eight months. ever since the disaster. >> translator: i do what i'm doing because i want to see everybody smile. i want to establish a milestone for rebuilding for the next generation. "newsline" is the place to turn to for the latest on japan post march 11th. we have two segments offering two unique perspectives on the fallout from the earthquake and tsunami. "nuclear watch" brings you
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insight and information on the impact of the fukushima daiichi crisis. and "the road ahead" examines japan's efforts to recover and rebuild. don't miss "nuclear watch" and "the road ahead" on "newsline." the people who run japan's equivalent of the new york yankees are embroiled in high-profile dispute over the until nation of the club's new coach. the general manager of the yomiri giants has publicly denounced the chairman. watanabe's control over the newspaper group makes him one of the most powerful and influential figures in japan. the general manager says the club's chairman tried to interfere with his choice of a new coach. he harshly criticized watanabe, saying the chairman had no authority over personal matters. >> translator: the leadership must not break the company's internal control and compliance rules. i want the chairman to reconsider his position and
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accept my initial choice. >> watanabe has served as chairman of the giants since 2005. when he became president of the newspaper with the highest circulation in japan. next, we go to our bureau in bangkok and pachari raksawong is there to find out what's going on in the region. floodwaters continue to pose a threat to central bangkok. water levels have fallen in some parts of the city, but residents are still on their alert as the spring tide will peak at the weekend. massive floodwaters from central thailand are only five kilometers from the center of the city. bangkok residents are trying to prevent inundation by piling up sand bags and transferring water from flooded roads to canals. an official says water levels have begun to fall in some areas. >> translator: the situation is
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improving. because we are discharging water from the main river to the ocean. >> on friday morning, the water level of the chao phraya river rose, but stopped short of overflowing unlike the last spring tide in late october. however, riverside areas are on high alert, as the tide is expected to peak on sunday. thailand's capital is still battling devastating floodwaters, but there are signs of recovery in the central city of ayutthaya. more than a month after the disaster hit, people in the world heritage-listed city are starting to overcome the crisis. nhk world's dhra dhirakaosal has more. >> the big clean-up is under way. hundreds of people gathered at one of ayutthaya's ancient temples. ayutthaya has been severely hit
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by the flooding disaster and people are trying to clean up the temple in order to help the tourism industry recover. at one temple, volunteers removed mud and waste on big clean-up day. they also brushed the walls of the historic site. >> translator: we should do all we can to bring everything back to normal. so we came up with this project to help revive ayutthaya. >> reporter: ayutthaya was hit by massive floods in early october. vast areas of the city were submerged and more than 300 temples were under water. the monks at one temple were unable to ask for alms. they also lost income because tourists stopped coming to the city. >> translator: floodwaters never entered the temple grounds. during the past century. that's why we didn't have a prevention system.
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>> reporter: after a month of flooding, waters have started to recede in most parts of the city. but some riverside areas in ayutthaya are still in danger, as they face a threat of ravaging floods. in these places, the suffering of the residents is far from over. thursday night was a sacred night for the thai people. one of the nation's most colorful festivals was held amidst the ongoing crisis. the festival allows people to pay their respects and express gratitude to the goddess of the river. kneeling by the river, they also ask the goddess to sweep away all their bad luck and worldly concerns. >> translator: my hometown and workplace have been submerged,
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so i prayed that the water will recede faster to allow thais to overcome this natural disaster as soon as possible. >> reporter: thais continue to struggle with the catastrophe, but on this special night, candles of hope have started to shine. dhra dhirakaosal, nhk world, ayutthaya. >> hopefully next year's celebrations will be dry. and that will wrap up our bulletin, i'm pachari raksawong in bangkok. pachari, thanks. here are other stories we're covering from around the world. japan and taiwan have signed an open skies agreement. the deal will lift restrictions on the number of flights and will open the door for the entry of a new airline company. the number of taiwanese visiting japan dropped the first nine months of this year by more than a quarter from the same period last year. the accord is expected to help bring back taiwanese tourists. unesco has been forced to suspend new programs, it has
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been hit hard by a u.s. decision to withdraw funding after the agency granted palestinians full membership. unesco estimates it may face a shortfall of over $140 million next year if the u.s. continues to with hold funding. the u.s. is its largest contributor. people in bangkok have floated lotus-shaped lanterns in the capital's main river in a traditional festival. they pray that damage from thailand's worst flooding in half a century will not spread further. the floodwaters have approached to within five kilometers of central bangkok. before we move on, we want to show you some pictures of people taking a break from their busy lives here in japan. ♪ ♪ a pleasure boat equipped with a kotatsu, a traditional table-shaped heater has begun
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seasonal operation in western japan. in the early morning boat men prepare charcoal to heat all the 45 boats. >> tourists enjoy the autumn leaves during their one-hour ride. sayaka mori is up next with weather. hi, welcome to your weather update. let's start off with east asia, central japan is experiencing chilly and wet weather today. but things will turn to dry and rm on saturday here, so that's good news. and the rest of japan is also looking at dry conditions over the weekend. meanwhile, a low pressure system is moving through northeastern
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china, spreading moderate snow and that will affect hokkaido on sunday. down towards the south, the southeast coast of china and taiwan have been contending with heavy rain, but i'm afraid more wet weather is expected over the next several days. the ground is already saturated, so any additional rain is not good news. as for saturday's highs, tokyo will be warming up to a seasonal 18 degrees, and 23 in taipei, and in bangkok, we are expecting 31 degrees with mainly clear skies. heading over to the americas then, we are still monitoring tropical storm shawn over the atlantic. it's now situated north of bermuda, spreading heavy rain and creating very strong winds across this country. but the conditions will gradually subside as we head into tonight. so that's good news. however rough sea conditions will prevail across the coast of bermuda and the southeastern u.s. over the next couple of days.
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so watch out for coastal flooding for the time being. meanwhile, a big low pressure system is producing heavy snow and coastal rain for eastern canada and parts of new england. winds are also a big concern, gusts of up to 100 kilometers per hour are possible for the canadian maritimes. but the wet conditions will gradually ease as we head into saturday. out towards the west, heavy precipitation is affecting british columbia, that will move southeastward and will affect the northern rockies, you'll see blustery conditions over the weekend here. and the coastal area of california will see rain developing over the course of the day. we're expecting only 9 degrees in vancouver and the same goes for seattle, but warming up to 23 in los angeles and 20 degrees in oklahoma city. finally let's go over to europe then. it's still wet for the british isles as well as the western iberian peninsula. you'll continue to see on and
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off showers as well as windy conditions over the next couple of days. but some areas will see a break in the rain for this area on saturday. so that's good news. and southern parts of italy and the balkan peninsula will continue to see severe thunderstorms that will continue for the next couple of days. meanwhile, the northern portions of turkey and the eastern portions also are looking at wet and cold weather. and you'll see heavynow the higher elevations. but ise,stays dry across scandil and eastwe a loot ly 2egrebut f,
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