Japanese Protests Against A Nuclear RestartOver the past week, Japanese protestors have gathered in Tokyo to demonstrate against efforts to restart nuclear power plants in the country. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, reactors were incrementally turned off around Japan and since May of this year, none have supplied electricity to the country’s power grid. The rising economic cost of keeping the reactors offline is creating anxiety as the country heads into summertime. Citizens of the country nevertheless remain distrustful of nuclear energy and are concerned about political-corporate interests in the restart. The above image is from June 3.
Villifying the LeaderJapanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is insistent on restarting the reactors at Oi in Fukui Prefecture, which provides power for the Kansai region, Japan's second largest metropolitan super-zone. It looks increasingly like Noda will get his way, but his belief that throwing away nuclear energy will doom the country is putting him at odds with many throughout the country. The above image is from June 10.
New FloodingIf Japan is still dealing with the repercussions of a major disaster from more than a year ago, China is now concerned with its own battles against the environment. Torrential rain has led to flooding across Southern Chinese provinces and on Taiwan. The island’s Central Emergency Operation said that 7,000 have already been moved from homes, but as many as 87,000 houses have been left without electricity. Nearly $7 million in agricultural losses have been reported so far by Taiwanese media. In mid-May, extensive flooding had already affected some 5 million Mainlanders. Chinese authorities warned on June 3 that massive flooding along the country’s major rivers was more likely this summer due to increased seasonal rains raising water levels. Major reservoirs along the Yangtze River, including at the Three Gorges Dam have already discharged water to prepare for storing future rainfall. Image from Pingtung County in Southern Taiwan from June 11.
Funeral For A HeroDisasters often bring out the worst and best in people. For Wu Bin, a freak accident made him into a national hero in China. A public funeral held for a previously unknown bus driver from Nanjing named Wu Bin drew thousands of mourners. More than 10,000 city residents crowded onto the roads of the city to offer their condolences. Wu made news around the country for his heroic actions in saving 24 passengers on his bus when a piece of waste metal plate on the highway flew through his windshield. Although Wu suffered fatal injuries to his internal organs, he was able to safely and calmly stop the vehicle, allowing the passengers on board to escape unharmed. The story has drawn interest throughout the country as issues in traffic safety become increasingly pronounced. The above image is from June 5.
U.S.-Indian PartnershipHeroes need to be remembered. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s visit to India last week included the symbolic gesture of a wreath laying at the memorial to the unknown solider at India Gate in New Delhi. Panetta finished a tour of Asia in early June, including a first trip to India as defense secretary. The New Delhi trip from June 5 to 6 covered security cooperation in Afghanistan and the Indian Ocean, as well as the possibility of increasing future arms sales to India. Defense analysts expect U.S.-Indian strategic relations to strengthen in future years as economic relations improve between the two countries, and as the U.S. increasingly looks to India to help balance the growth of China’s military. Image from June 6.
Rohingya Muslims From Myanmar Flee To Neighboring BangladeshElsewhere in South Asia, the necessity for better regional security cooperation became all the more pronounced with events in Myanmar. The alleged rape of a young Buddhist woman of the Rakhine ethnicity by Muslim Rohingyas has sparked a wave of violent reprisals against the latter group in Myanmar’s southwestern Rakhine State (formerly known as Arakan State). Rohingya refugees then fled from Myanmar (Burma) into neighboring Bangladesh to the west, many traveling across the Bay of Bengal on small boats. As many as 1,500 have now been denied entry, leaving them stranded on their vessels. Predominantly Muslim Bangladesh already has some 250,000 Rohingya refugees, many of which fled there in 1977 after the government of (then) Burma carried out a military operation to drive them out of the region. Up to 480,000 Rohingya still remain in Myanmar. The issue is highlighting the country’s numerous ethnic tensions, leading to concerns about a stable future even as recent openings have increased optimism for broader political reforms. The above image is from June 13.
China Flaunts New WealthEven if many parts of Asia remain mired in poverty and misfortune, other areas are becoming wrapped in glitz and glamor. A model stands next to British luxury automobile maker Morgan’s new Aero Coupe, on display at the China Luxury Exhibition which opened on June 8th. China is now the world’s third largest market for personal luxury goods, valued at around $25 billion annually and quickly growing due to the growing demand for high-end products from the country’s new wealth. The show also included objects of contemporary and fine art, cosmetics, fine jewelry and accessories, musical instruments, and furniture.
Not A Common Game In AmericaEven in Asia's less well-to-do nations, lighthearted moments can be found -- but at whose expense? A young North Korean points a toy gun at a vilified image of an American solider during the country’s Children’s Day celebrations. Students in Pyongyang participated in massive week-long celebrations and scripted events starting on June 1. Analysts expect the activities are a means to create support and idolization for the North Korean leadership in citizens starting at a young age. Kim Jong-un, the young leader of North Korea, is still within his twenties.
Starting today, International Business Times will carry a weekly slideshow of images from Asia, offering a visual overview of regional events that have taken place over the past seven days.
These pictures are meant to tell a story themselves and compel deeper reading into the highlighted issues:
This week's slideshow includes:
1. Resistance to nuclear energy in Japan.
2. Flooding, funerals, and fortune in China.
3. Growing security cooperation between the U.S and India.
4. Ethnic troubles in Myanmar.
5. Propaganda and lighthearted play in North Korea.