>> reporter: leaders in the u.s. have tried to strike a balance between protecting secrets and protecting citizens' right to know. the president determines what should be classified, along with how and when it should be declassified. information can be kept under wraps for up to ten years, and in certain cases, up to 25. after that, it is basically made available to the public. the information security oversight office in the national archives has the authority to make sure material has not been classified unnecessarily, but no such authority exists in japan. >> we are objective. we are interested in balancing secrecy versus openness. and it's important to have an agency like ours.
>> reporter: mikio haruna, a visiting professor at waseda university, is an expert on public records. he says the proposed bill is dated. >> translator: it focuses on the protection of secrets. the government needs to disclose information and guarantee the right to know. >> reporter: government leaders want to enact the bill as soon as possible to make sure that proposed national security council can operate smoothly. but first, they must answer questions in the diet. yoshitaka hirauchi, nhk world, tokyo. prime minister abe said it's vital that the diet pass the two bills during the current session. he was speaking at a plenary session of the lower house. abe says the national security council would strengthen the command functions of the prime
minister's office. he says this is important at a time when the security environment is getting more severe. abe also says that for the new security body to function effectively, legal and other systems must be in place to protect government information and secrets. the draft bill says the prime minister would chair the new council, and members would include foreign and defense ministers as well as the chief cabinet secretary. the prime minister says the council could discuss counterterrorism, natural disasters and the trans-pacific partnership free trade talks if these matters were thought to have a fundamental impact on national security. the world trade organization has acknowledged claims by japan and other countries that china's exports of rare earth metals are restrictive and violate its rules. the w.t.o. plans to ask the country to change the practice.
japan, the united states and the european union filed a complaint in june last year saying china's export control is against w.t.o. rules. china accounts for more than 90% of the global output of rare earth metals used to make high-tech products like smartphones. the country has said it's been limiting exports to protect the resource and the environment. sources now say the w.t.o. is in broad agreement with the claims by japan and other countries. the organization has put an interim report together to advise china to correct the situation. the w.t.o. is expected to publish a final report in december after hearing from china and other parties involved. indonesia's explosive economic growth has improved the lives of millions, but with it comes a new dilemma, what to do with all the waste. some japanese experts are stepping in with strategies that could turn an environmental liability into an economic asset.
>> reporter: surabaya city is indonesia's second largest city with 3 million people. its economy and population is growing rapidly. so is the amount of trash and that's creating a problem. this is the only disposal site in the city. 1,500 tons of garbage is dumped at the site every day. at this rate, the site will be full in a few years. as the city searches for ways to handle all of the trash, a waste recycling company from kitakyushu city in western japan has started operating here in march. workers efficiently sort recyclable waste. like plastic and metal and items for composting. as a result the amount of garbage dumped has dropped by 50%. new jobs have been created as well. this man is a sales representative for the recycling company.
he says the indonesian waste and recycling market offers great business opportunities. >> reporter: all waste used to be buried at the site. in japan, a lot of it would have been recycled. now the recycling gets done and locals earn money. there are many business opportunities here. >> reporter: the kitakyushu city government also supports the company's expansion into surabaya. for ten years the japanese city has also advised surabaya about waste disposal. last november officials from both cities agreed to an environmental sister city relationship. kitakyushu city introduced a local company that has the technology and know-how to help improve the living environment in surabaya. this man manages the project from the japanese side. together they set off to meet their indonesian counterparts
and they discuss problems related to a new plant that nishimura's company plans to build. it will convert raw garbage into compost. it is the key to cutting back on surabaya's future waste. however, there's a problem. even though it's been three months since both sides agreed to the plan, construction hasn't started. >> translator: the work should be under way but our hands are tied. >> reporter: surabaya officials keep saying that national government authorities must authorize construction. they say that will take time. negotiators on both sides had bargained intensely. the surabayans promised to urge the indonesian government to authorize building the plant. >> translator: the japanese are very enthusiastic.
so we must work harder, too. we want to make surabaya a beautiful city, like kitakyushu. >> translator: we have to keep working hard in order to get more japanese companies to take on the waste disposal business here. >> reporter: businesspeople see a great opportunity in improving the living environment of asia's emerging economies. the kitakyushu government and local companies work together overseas. this could become a good model for expansion of japanese businesses into emerging nations. a newspaper in china has not only been reporting the news this week. it's been making it. editors of the "new express" have used their front page to demand that police release one of their reporters who exposed shady dealings at a state-owned firm. their campaign has put the spotlight on china's tight control over the media and the
growing desire for change. nhk world's shun ishibe has more. >> reporter: "please release him." this is a message that's been carried for two days this week on the front page of the "new express" newspaper. the reporter in guangdong province was detained by police last saturday after he wrote about corruption at a major state-owned company. police say the article damaged the firm's reputation. the "new express" called the reporter's arrest unjust, and it's demanding that he be released. it's almost unheard of that such a demand is published in china where the media is under tight government control. the pleas are attracting a lot of attention around the country. >> translator: they should have first investigated the case. i don't think it's normal. >> translator: it is quite natural for reporters to write about the case. >> reporter: messages critical
of the police and in support of the newspaper are being posted online. other newspapers have come out in support of the "new express." support for the plea is spreading. partly because people are becoming more vocal about the tight controls of free speech. in january, editors at another newspaper in guangdong province "the nanfang" were told to rewrite a new editorial calling for political reform. the move sparked several days of protests. a "new express" editorialist told us that he believed the content of the detained reporter's article is accurate, and that there is a sense of solidarity within the company. he says the newspaper will not give up until the reporter is set free. the fight by the guangdong paper for journalistic freedom and ensuing controversy is starting to highlight the depth of china's problems.
shun ishibe, nhk world, guangzhou. beijing has launched an anti-smog action plan so local residents can breathe easier. this comes after air pollution in the city hit unsafe levels earlier this month. the plan calls for cutting the levels of pollutant pm-2.5 by more than 25% by 2017. a key part of the plan is a thermal power plant being built in a beijing suburb. it will be one of the city's biggest thermal power sources. the plant will provide hot water to heat houses in winter. if everything goes according to plan, it will be online a year from now just in time for winter. this type of power plant uses natural gas. so beijing will use less polluting coal for heating homes and offices. >> translator: we would like to achieve our objective with everyone's support.
>> the city is also introducing commuter buses that run on electricity and natural gas. beijing plans to replace two-thirds of its buses with these eco-friendly vehicles by 2017. the city government earlier this week announced new anti-pollution measures including warnings on smog levels. and beijing plans to cut the number of vehicles on the road by half when serious air pollution is expected to last more than three days. a group of south koreans who had been held in the north are enjoying something they may not have expected so soon. their freedom. north korean authorities made good on a sudden promise to release six men and sent them home. the men crossed the border in
the truce village of panmunjom. they're aged in their 20s to 60s. north korean officials used their state-run media to say the men had entered the country illegally. they said they'd released the men on humanitarian grounds, because all six had admitted and reflected on their crimes. officials in the south are trying to identify the men and find out why they went to the north. south korean media say this is the first time the north has sent people home across the border without seeking anything in return. analysts say leaders in pyongyang are trying to create an opening for dialogue by highlighting their humanitarian concerns. south korean forces carried out a drill on disputed territory in waters between their country and japan. they base the exercise on the assumption that right wing activists had landed on islands that south korea controls but the japanese claim. >> translator: the islands are historically and currently our
territory. we publicized the drill to show our forces will defend them under any circumstances. >> the defense ministry spokesperson said in seoul that army, air and naval forces took part. he revealed a special navy unit carried out a landing operation. it's rare for the unit to participate in exercises on the islands. in a similar drill last year, commanders canceled a landing operation at the last minute. analysts saw it as an attempt to avoid further friction with japan following a visit to the territory by then-president lee myung-bak. japan protested the most recent drill. >> translator: based on our position on the island's sovereignty, the drill is totally unacceptable and regrettable. >> suga emphasized tokyo's position that the islands belonged to japan historically
and under international law. he added that japan and south korea should not let this kind of issue damage bilateral ties. 340,000 people remain evacuated after an earthquake in the southern philippines last week. the united nations is calling on the international community for relief. the u.n. held a news conference in manila on friday. officials called for about $47 million in emergency international assistance. authorities say more than 200 people died in the magnitude 7.2 quake, which had its epicenter on bohol island. a u.n. team on the ground says more than 52,000 buildings collapsed and they say 344,300 people remain evacuated. the united nations says there's an urgent need for more shelters and relief supplies such as food, water and medicine. thailand, one of the world's
welcomes about 20 million overseas visitors annually but tourist safety in the land of smiles has increasingly become issue, and that's led several foreign governments to call for action. they have set up the tourist's court in a bid to protect visitors. nhk world has more. >> reporter: pattaya is a popular beach resort 140 kilometers southeast of bangkok. the regional court in this bustling city added new work, handling complaints from foreign tourists. the court aims to settle claims before they leave thailand. officials say most of the cases should be settled within a day. with only four staff and no dedicated judge, the court has handled several cases since it opened. it arranges a mediation process in an attempt to settle disputes and it's all free of charge.
on this day, two russian travelers came for mediation. they say their laptop was stolen from their hotel. >> reporter: the hotel agreed to discuss compensation, but the russians doubted whether the court would be able to help. they felt the procedure was moving forward without their involvement. >> translator: he's wondering why he was not made aware of this process before now. he needs to be clear why he wasn't informed. >> reporter: however, progress was made when the court mediator told the hotel's lawyer it was responsible for the loss. >> translator: the hotel has to agree on a figure for the amount of compensation due to its guests. then the matter can be resolved.
>> reporter: eventually the russians accepted the compensation offer. so far seven other cases have been solved through the same process, and no other cases had to go to trial yet. >> translator: the usual court process could cost a lot of money and take time, but not at the tourist court. we want tourists to have quick access to the legal system. there are plenty of reports of tourists being targeted by criminals. the image of thailand and its tourism industry has definitely been affected. >> reporter: thailand has welcomed 21 million foreign tourists so far this year, and that is expected to jump to 28 million next year. despite that growing popularity, police figures show crime targeting foreign tourists has increased by more than 50% last year. news of scams and even tourist deaths are common.
it has left several eu embassies to issue urgent statements urging thai authorities to better protect visitors. soon after, the idea of using the tourist court to restore the country's image was born. >> translator: i was told that foreign ambassadors had expressed concern for the safety of their citizens in thailand. so i decided to propose making safety for tourists the ministry's top priority. the goal is to address the issue quickly, because in the past foreign tourists who fell victim to crime often left thailand before their cases were concluded. >> reporter: the tourist court may provide a certain level of assurance, but most visitors still don't know about it. many say the best policy would be to put more effort into preventing crime in the first place. >> i think it would be better to have police here like to sort of
crime out as it happens instead of going all the way to a court or tourist court. >> reporter: with thailand's reputation as a tourist paradise taking damage, the authorities are clearly making an effort to protect the country's image, but is the tourist's court the best solution? or will the overseas reactions from visitors be the real verdict. time will be the real tell for that. japan's prime minister wants to create a society where women shine. the country slipped to 105 among 136 nations in an annual gender gap report. the rankings by the world economic forum compare participation by men and women in areas such as the economy, politics and education.
iceland tops the organization aegs list for the fifth straight year followed by finland and norway and sweden of the philippines in fifth place, the highest ranking in asia. japan's ranking is the lowest among major economies. the poor showing is blamed on a drop in the number of female lawmakers. world economic forum representatives say there's almost no gender gap in japan when it comes to access to education and health care. but they point to big gaps in economic participation, wage equality and promotion to management positions. muslim nations had some of the survey's lowest rankings. pakistan is 135th on the list and yemen is last at 136. next let's take a brief look at the market figures.
tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with john nichols about his new book "dollarocracy." he details about how elections are being controlled by a small group of billionaires and corporations, to the detriment of the rest of us. join us in our conversation with john nichols, coming up right now.
>> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. nots: just in case you may think big money dominates elections, consider this. the last election was the first $10 billion election in the history of the nation. washington correspondent john nichols has written a critique of our current practices called "dollarocracy." john, thanks for your work and
it is an honor to be -- to have you on this program. beat romney, or did money beat money? >> money beat money. we love the happy story, but the fact of the matter is that barack obama and his supporters raised about $1.2 billion and mid romney raised about 1.3 billion dollars. it was big money versus eight money. i would argue that obama will one on the basis of his own strength. tavis: let me go forward and then we will go back. the supreme court was forced to make a decision that depending on where you stand, perhaps it was a ruling that would completely gut what is left of campaign finance. if the decision goes in the way many people think it will go --
>> it is good you raise that question. allowingentially wealthy people to give more than ever to candidates. mccutchen would allow those wealthy people in a public way to give more money. but the fact that they are giving that money now through so-called independent expenditures, what the bill would do is systematized and make it more regimented. the truth of the matter is, the barn door is already open. if the mccutchen ruling comes down, it will be that much easier for them to do it, but we should not lie to ourselves. our politicians are dominated by the dollar. it is really just a cleanup after the fight. we lost the fight in citizens united, all the way back to the 1970s. until we begin to address the
fundamental issue, that money , weing into our pockets lose these fights because money is well organized. that is the simple reality. if you have a great deal of wealth, you have the ability to make it all work well. earlyn the late 1960s, 1970s, civil rights and voting rights were really starting to expand. vote for a system that was little more fair and just. pump the money into lobbying and politics and you begin to knock down the barriers to money and politics. year processa 40 in this country of money moving into politics. from theill dominates presidential level down to the local city council level. we end up in a situation, you talk about an issue like poverty, gets pushed aside.