South Korea’s Moon pledges action against Japan’s ‘unfair’ trade move

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2019   •   1064

Courtesy: Reuters

South Korea fired back at Japan over a deepening trade dispute on Friday (August 2), pledging it would not be “defeated again” by its neighbour, laying bare decades-old animosity at the root of a row over fast-track export status.

Addressing his ministers during a rare live television broadcast of his cabinet, South Korean President Moon Jae-in threatened countermeasures after Japan’s cabinet approved the removal of South Korea’s fast-track export status from Aug.28.

“If Japan attempts to harm our economy, the Korean Government also has countermeasures with which to respond.,” he said.

“Even at this moment, the Korean Government does not want a vicious cycle of tit-for-tat. There is only one way to stop this. The Japanese Government must withdraw its unilateral and unwarranted measures as soon as possible and take a path toward dialogue,” he added.

Cutting South Korea from a so-called “white list” of favoured export destinations could require Japanese exporters to obtain permits, potentially slowing down exports of a wide range of goods that could be used to produce weapons.

“What we take even more seriously is the fact that these moves by the Japanese Government carry the clear intention to attack and hurt our economy by impeding our future economic growth,” Moon said.

Relations between the two U.S. allies began to deteriorate late last year following a row over compensation for wartime forced labourers during Japan’s occupation, but the language used by President Moon was the starkest yet. (REUTERS)

(Production: Heejung Jung)

Court orders suspension of Japan nuclear reactor over safety concerns

UNTV News   •   January 17, 2020

Tokyo – A Japanese court on Friday ordered the suspension of a nuclear reactor at the Ikata plant in western Japan on safety grounds, revoking an earlier decision that had green lighted its operation.

The Hiroshima High Court said the operators of the plant Shikoku Electric and the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority underestimated the risk posed to residents by a possible eruption of the Aso volcano, located about 130 km (nearly 80 miles) from the Ikata plant, public broadcaster NHK reported.

In December 2017, the court had ordered the suspension of reactor no. 3 at the plant for the same reason, and became the first Japanese high court to question the new safety requirements implemented in the country in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

However, in September 2018, the court accepted the operator’s appeal because the risk of volcanic eruption was very low, thus allowing the company to restart operations in October of that year.

This time, the court took into account the allegations made by a group of citizens from Yamaguchi Prefecture – located adjacent to the plant – who again highlighted the risks arising from a possible eruption of Mount Aso.

Reactor no. 3 at the Ikata plant was one of the few in the country that had received permission to operate under post-Fukushima regulations, although it was temporarily shut down on account of an inspection by the operator.

Shikoku Electric said it would appeal against the court’s decision that has dealt another legal setback to the plans of the Japanese operators and the government to gradually reactivate the reactors that meet the new safety requirements.

The Fukushima disaster triggered a massive review operation of all the nuclear plants and set off new and stricter security regulations in Japan.

Tokyo estimates 20 to 22 percent of electricity in the country will be generated from atomic plants by 2030, slightly lower than the 30 percent before the 2011 tragedy, the worst nuclear accidents after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Radioactive emissions and spills from the Fukushima disaster left around 110,000 people displaced and has severely affected agriculture, livestock, and fishing in the region.

The disaster was triggered by an earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, leaving over 15,000 people dead and more than 3,000 others missing. EFE-EPA

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Giant Olympic rings installed in Tokyo Bay ahead of summer games

UNTV News   •   January 17, 2020

The Olympic Rings monument is installed at Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan epa08134620 A pedestrian watches the Olympic Rings monument on a vessel being installed at Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan, 17 January 2020. At Odaiba Marine Park, the Olympic aquatic events of marathon swimming and triathlon will be held. Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will open on 24 July through 09 August 2020. EPA-EFE/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

Tokyo – Giant Olympic rings have been installed on the Tokyo waterfront as a monument adding to the Japanese capital’s urban landscape and atmosphere ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, the capital’s metropolitan government announced on Friday.

The steel symbol of five interlocking rings in blue, yellow, black, green and red stands about 15.3 meters high and 32.6 meters wide on a floating platform at Odaiba Marine Park, the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee said in a statement.

Odaiba Marine Park will be the venue for the open-water marathon swimming (10 kilometers), as well as the triathlon events.

The huge symbol features a lighting system that will be switched on for the first time on Jan. 24, a date that marks exactly six months before the start of the Tokyo Games, along with a fireworks display in the bay and other events.

After the Olympics, to be held from Jul. 24 to Aug. 9 in Tokyo, the structure will be replaced by the symbol of the Paralympic Games, which will run from Aug. 25 to Sep. 6, according to organizers.

The monument can be seen from Friday in the vicinity of the iconic Rainbow Bridge, one of the most recognizable buildings in the Tokyo Bay landscape, where most of the Olympic venues are located. EFE-EPA

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South Korea pledges US$200,000 aid for victims of Taal eruption

Marje Pelayo   •   January 17, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea – The Government of South Korea on Thursday (January 16) said that it is sending US$200,000 humanitarian assistance to the Philippines.

The said amount is to help some 45,000 Filipinos affected and displaced by the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas.

The cash donation will be coursed through the Philippine Red Cross, according to South Korea’s foreign ministry in a press release.

“The assistance is expected to contribute to the stabilization of the lives of the displaced people by providing relief supplies in a speedy manner to people staying at shelters due to the volcanic eruption,” the ministry said.

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