School is starting this week, since it is one of the busiest times of the year for me, I’ll be taking a short break from the podcasts. Expect to see them return mid-September in regular format. Next week will be a special podcast, where I talk about the upcoming Fall Season on QiRanger.com.
The News: WATCH CLIP
- Comfort Women Sue Japan. Taking a page from conscripted workers who have recently won court cases in Korea against Japanese companies, a group of 12 former Comfort Women have filed a lawsuit against Japan, seeking US$90,000 in damages. This brings up an interesting question – how long will Korea keep the 1965 bilateral agreement with Japan? WATCH CLIP
- Families to be reunited. North Korea has agreed, at least at this stage, to allow separated families to meet on September 19th during the Chuseok holiday. WATCH CLIP
- The North Korea-Cuba Link. It appears that North Korea and Cuba may have been trading arms for some 30 years. In the 1980s, Soviet Premeire Andropov told Fidel Castro that the USSR would not intervene should the US attack. Therefore, Castro sought out other friends and established a relationship with DPRK founder Kim Il-sung. This explains why arms were being smuggled from Cuba via Panama. WATCH CLIP
- It’s Mr. Nice Kim. Kim Jong-un is trying to court defectors back to North Korea by offering cash rewards and other benefits if they return. This is opposite from the previous regime where sometimes Kim Jong-il would go after the family members of those who defected. Many thing this latest attempt to play nice is because of the UN Human Rights investigations and hearings taking place in Seoul. WATCH CLIP
- Mashik Ski Resort runs into another problem! The Swiss have pulled out of a deal to supply the lifts for North Korea’s Masik Ski Resort, calling it a “prestigious propaganda project for the regime” and in violation of current sanctions. WATCH CLIP
- Super-sized salaries – minimal power. The Chosun Ilbo released data on the salaries of executives and staffers at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute. They earned “W96.4 million per year on average, ranking fifth among all 295 public corporations and in the top 1.36 percent. The CEOs of KEPCO and subsidiary KEPCO KPS earned about W253 million (24th) and W247 million (31st).” Individuals are beginning to question why these people are being paid so much when Korea is facing an energy crisis. WATCH CLIP
- South Korea moving forward with North Korea talks. Offers up September 25th as date for talks about reopening tourism excursions to Mt. Kumgang. WATCH CLIP
- Japan to go Nuclear free. Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Japan shut down its 50 nuclear power plants over fears a similar Fukushima event could repeat. Since then, only two reactors have come back on line. However, this September, those two plants will shut down for an indefinite period of time for maintenance and safety checks. If Japan can survive for extended periods of time without those reactors, does the country need nuclear energy at all? WATCH CLIP
- Fukushima to be cleaned up. It took more than two years to get the plans drawn up, but last week, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority released the 3,695 page document outlining how they plan to go about cleaning up and dismantling the devastated plant. The big question is will it all go to plan or is it too little, too late? This is second such nuclear disaster to be rated a Level 7 event. WATCH CLIP
- Shinzo Abe seeks to visit Yasukuni Shrine. While Abe took into consideration the sentiments in South Korea and China as the August 15th anniversary approached and vowed not to visit the controversial shrine, he has expressed his wish to return to the shrine during one of the upcoming reitaisai festival. However, Abe is attempting to meet with both China and South Korea this fall, so a visit to the shrine during the fall festival may sour relations, forcing him to put off the visit. WATCH CLIP
- Increased tensions in disputed waters. Ganbare Nippon sent five boats to the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands to show they are under Japanese protection. This is in response to a Chinese surveillance vessel that stayed more than 24 hours last week. This is a dangerous situation, since tensions are running high with military vessels – ones with discipline. Personal crafts can react irrationally and unexpectedly, and could create a volatile situation. Japan should restrict the area to avoid any possible confrontations. WATCH CLIP
- Employed for life. Japan’s culture of lifetime employment is causing a significant strain on its economy. Large companies and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wish to change the status quo, allowing corporations to issue furloughs and create a flexible job market. Shusaku Tani is employed by Sony, a company he’s been with for 32 years. However, 2 years ago, his position was eliminated. Rather than taking an early retirement option, he is still employed by Sony under current laws and does nothing but sit in a room all day. This practice is a drain on society and needs to be changed. WATCH CLIP
- Will the tax hike work in Japan? In the coming weeks, Japan is set to debate whether or not it should implement a controversial sales tax increase. If passed, the tax increase will catapult the sales tax from 5% to about 10%. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is against the increase, while big business wants it implemented. WATCH CLIP
- China doesn’t want to be targeted. China is asking the US not to focus on them with Obama’s pivot towards Asia. They claim they’re a peace loving country and there’s nothing to worry about. However, with their demonstrated ability to sail into the Pacific and expansive claim in the South China Sea, there is cause for concern. WATCH CLIP
- China looks to Korea for help in denuclearizing the DPRK. Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, reaffirmed China’s commitment to “denuclearize the Korean Peninsula,” according to a report by Xinhua News Agency. China is often thought of as the only country capable of reigning in North Korea. However, some might suspect that the real reason for China taking this stance is to create a buffer zone and keep American developed weapons at a distance. WATCH CLIP
Other News Topics
- North America’s oldest petroglyphs. Carved into rocks outside Reno, NV (USA), are images thought to be 10,000 to 15,000 years old. Gives insight to how people lived when they first came to the continent. WATCH CLIP
- The Apaches want their sacred items back. A longstanding dispute between the American Museum of Natural History and the Apaches over 77 items has turned into a war of words. The museum classifies the items as “cultural property” – an unofficial designation, while the Apaches seek to have them listed as “sacred” or “items of cultural patrimony” both official categories under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. WATCH CLIP
Question of the Week: WATCH CLIP
This week’s question from Delon: Hey Steve! I fancy all ways of life in Asia, It’s really unique to me. Although I find myself learning about mostly Japanese things, I’d also like to understand what it could be like to live in South Korea! So May I ask you what it’s been like for you over there? The goods and the bads? And what great experiences you’ve had? What made you want to move there and what’s it like for a foreigner? I’ll definitely be watching your Youtube channels! I subscribed!
If you have a question, drop me a line at email@example.com. I will respond by email, video reply, or in a future podcast episode.
QiRanger RTW: Travel Talk Around the World: WATCH CLIP
Have you ever wanted to move to Europe? This week, Michael Tieso from the Art of Adventuring shares with us one way not only to move there, but how to get the coveted EU passport. You can follow Michael’s adventures on his blog and at @artofadventurin on Twitter.
Ladies and gentlemen, that will do it for this week’s podcast. Thank you so much for joining me this week. If you liked it, please subscribe and share it with your friends, if you think they would find it helpful.
Remember, I’ll be taking a break from the podcasts as the semester begins.
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If you have any feedback, be sure to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org but until next time, remember to be true to yourself, and always be awesome!
The QiRanger Podcast is written and produced by Steve Miller and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. “Morning Blue,” was written and performed by Josh Woodward.