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Asia This Week

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Asia This Week

A weekly update on the political, economic and social developments in Japan and the rest of Asia. Your window on a diverse and ever-changing region, home to four billion people.

Hosted by Minori Takao

ON AIR SCHEDULE (UTC)

Fri.14:30 - 15:00
20:30- 21:00
Sat.2:10 - 2:40
8:10 - 8:40

Dec. 19, Fri.

Liberal Democratic Party Wins General Election in a Landslide
Coalition Secures a Two-Thirds Majority

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the snap poll, saying he wanted a public mandate for his decision to postpone a hike in the consumption tax rate to 10% within one-and-a-half years. He also sought more support from the Japanese people for the economic policies that have been dubbed "Abenomics". The sudden election proved to be a shrewd move. Abe's LDP and its coalition partner, the Komeito, romped home - taking a two-thirds majority in the Lower House. But if the victory was convincing, the number of people who voted suggests another factor in the election was apathy: voter turnout was a record low. The parties most hurt by this were all the opposition groups except the Communist Party, which saw a rise in its support. The Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition group, lost seats. This forced leader Banri Kaieda to resign. Many would say the election puts Abe in a stronger position than ever. But difficult challenges remain. We look at the issues with Tomoko Kamata.



A Japanese Town with No Tourist Attractions Decided to Make Its Own
Striking a Chord with Thai Visitors

The district of Utanobori on the northernmost island of Hokkaido has virtually no tourist spots. Few - if any - foreigners came here until recently. So the local people devised activities that could be turned into an attraction, and promoted themselves to Asian tourist agencies. The idea proved so popular that for the past 2 years, droves of visitors from Thailand have flocked here. They come for what the locals call the "full Japanese cultural experience" - a one-night, two-day package offering over 10 Japanese cultural activities ranging from making food to dressing in kimono. Our reporter, Raja Pradhan takes the tour to find out how this "town that had nothing" has been so successful at shaping its own tourist boom.