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TV Asahi presents “Kinkyu Kensho Special” and more

One of the biggest news stories of 1987 was the bombing of a Korean Airlines flight over the Indian Ocean. Two North Korean agents posing as Japanese citizens were believed to be responsible for the bombing. One committed suicide before he could be arrested in Bahrain. The other, a young woman named Kim Hyong He, tried to do the same but was revived, put on trial, and sentenced to death. Two months later, she was pardoned and now is a housewife in South Korea.

Over the years, some people have questioned aspects of the case, including the summary pardon itself. On March 23 at 8 p.m., TV Asahi will present a “Kinkyu Kensho Special (Urgent Verification Special)” detailing ideas presented in a South Korean novel that has prompted families of victims to ask the government to reopen the investigation. The accepted theory was that the North carried out the bombing to make the world uneasy about the upcoming Seoul Olympics, but in the novel the bombing was the work of South Korean intelligence officers who wanted to bolster claims that Pyongyang was a terrorist regime.

Feature-length movies based on animated TV programs are habitually released during vacation periods. They make lots of money, especially the ones featuring Crayon Shin-chan, the precocious kindergartner whose penchant for scatological humor has made him the be^te noire of the Japanese PTA and a hero of an entire generation of schoolchildren.

On March 27, TV Asahi will air “Arashi wo Yobu Eiko no Yakiniku Road (The Troublemaking Glory of the Yakiniku Road)” at 7 p.m., which actually ended up on a few Japanese film critics’ Best 10 lists for 2003.

Shin-chan, his parents, and his baby sister all sit down for some “high-class” yakiniku (barbecue beef) one night when their suburban Kasukabe home is invaded by a group of strange young men. The family escape only to discover that they are wanted by the police. They become fugitives, and have to make their way to Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture in disguise.

In addition to the requisite flatulence jokes, the movie is filled with action, suspense, slapstick, and “thrilling bicycle-chase scenes.”

On Sunday, March 28, NHK-G will present another in its occasional series of Data Map Specials.

Using statistics that have been rendered as visual aids, the specials attempt to make complicated topics more easily understandable.

The topic this time is urban flight, typified by the so-called doughnut phenomenon, where middle-class people abandon city centers for the suburbs, thus leaving those city centers impoverished.

Using maps of cities in Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom, the program will attempt to show how income disparities brought about by loss of manufacturing jobs affect the general security situation in large cities. Usually, with greater poverty comes more drug addiction and crime.