Next Episode of Today's Close-Up is
Dig deeper into current affairs. Cutting-edge information and critical analysis on important issues confronting Japanese lives.
Electricity bills are soaring due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and for other reasons. Partly in response, the Japanese government has said it wants to extend the operational life of existing nuclear power plants and increase the number of reactors. This is despite declaring after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster that it would not consider such a policy. With Japan aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050, the policy shift has pros and cons for its citizens. We invited experts from both sides of the debate to discuss the merits of turning back to nuclear power.
Yamaguchi Akira (Director, Nuclear Safety Research Association / Chair, Nuclear Energy Subcommittee, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)
Oshima Kenichi (Professor, Ryukoku University / Chairperson, Citizens' Commission on Nuclear Energy)
The animated film "Suzume" is turning into a huge box-office hit in Japan. In the movie, 17-year-old Suzume "locks out" sources of natural disasters across Japan before they occur. What's causing all the buzz is that places she visited are where actual disasters happened. Why has the film captivated the imaginations of so many people? We asked the director about the power of narrative.
Makoto Shinkai (Animated film director)
"Regretting Motherhood: A Study" by Israeli sociologist Orna Donath has sparked a global conversation about the pitfalls of motherhood. The book was published in Japan last year and provoked both praise and criticism. An NHK program director, who is eight months pregnant herself, interviewed mothers about their regrets as she sought to find out why the topic seemed to have struck such a chord in Japanese society. Along with a studio guest, we think about how women can become mothers while still being true to themselves.
Yamazaki Nao-cola (Writer)
Tokyo is in the midst of a major transformation that will see the skyline filled with more than 200 new high-rise buildings with cutting-edge equipment from robots to contact-free holographic devices and more. The government and developers are trying to attract international clients who can contribute to boosting the economy, but there are downsides to the rapid change. Vacant space in older buildings may harm local businesses. Some experts also point out the possible environmental impact, such as high-rises blocking sea breezes, making the city and inland areas hotter than ever. We look at how to make Tokyo a better metropolis for the future, both economically and environmentally.
Masuda Yukihiro (Professor, College of Systems Engineering and Science, Shibaura Institute of Technology)
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