Winning always comes at a cost

The television audience-share for last Tuesday’s World Cup match between Japan and Belgium climbed as high as 58 percent. As that was on a weekday, Sunday’s Japan-Russia game on Fuji TV will probably be watched by even more Japanese people, so rival stations aren’t even going to try to compete.

That is, except for Nippon TV, which will broadcast a special two-hour installment of its popular program “Tokumei Research 200X” at 7:58 p.m., opposite the World Cup broadcast. In an effort to pull viewers away from soccer, they have titled the special, “Sekai Chokiken Eizo — Hoso Kinshi,” which can be translated as “The World’s Most Dangerous Images: Forbidden Broadcasts.”

The program will reportedly feature 3,000 separate video segments of real-life disasters, accidents and crimes; “images of life and death,” according to NTV, “that will never be shown again.”

That last claim should be taken with a grain of salt, since this type of real-life special is a common time-filler during between-season network breaks, and many of them recycle the same videos over and over again.

Among the videos that the producers claim have never been seen before are one showing a man who started shooting at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., and a huge tragedy at a soccer stadium in Rio De Janeiro. Obviously, if you hate soccer you’ll want to tune in.

Monday afternoon, TBS starts a new story in its daily half-hour drama series “Love Theatre.” Former idol Yoko Minamino stars as a housewife with lottery fever in “Ikkaku Senkin Yume Kazoku (Bonanza Dream Family)” (Monday-Friday, 1 p.m., for the next six weeks).

Most countries in the world have some form of lottery, and many offer jackpots that reach into the tens of millions of dollars. Japan’s biggest lottery prize is only 300 million yen, and yet just like their overseas counterparts, many Japanese working people believe all their troubles will be solved if they could only win the big payout. However, winning does not always bring the kind of happiness it would seem to promise.

Haruko (Minamino) and two other housewives who also work part-time at the same neighborhood supermarket are disappointed with their lives. They pool their money, buy a bunch of lottery tickets and, against all odds, win 100 million yen. Then, their real problems begin. Naturally, it’s a comedy.

On Tuesday, TV Asahi’s documentary program “Present Progressive TV: Imagine” (8 p.m.) will look at the return of home birthing.

Before World War II, it was more common for women to give birth at home than in hospitals. However, recently, young mothers have begun reconsidering home births as an alternative, especially in light of the bad publicity surrounding hospital management and the lack of flexibility that medical institutions are famous for in Japan with regard to hospital stays and lack of informed consent.

Consequently, the number of midwives is on the increase. “Imagine” mainly profiles one midwife named Junko Saito, who earned her midwifery credentials two years ago after working at a university hospital. Saito explains and demonstrates how midwives are different from conventional obstetricians. She shows how her job can begin even before a prospective mother becomes pregnant; how she provides full “backup” during pregnancy; what she does to prepare for the final delivery; and what kind of “aftercare” she provides following the birth.

The cameras follow Saito as she helps a pregnant woman, and they are there when the woman gives birth. There is also a report on a small school where midwives are trained.

Saturday’s “NHK Special” (NHK-G, 9 p.m.) will look behind the scenes at the new administration of East Timor, the first new nation of the 21st century, which celebrated its independence on May 20.

The special will explore the country’s past as a colony of Portugal that was forcibly annexed by Indonesia in 1975. The subsequent struggle for autonomy in the region tore families apart and resulted in forced migrations. In 1999, 80 percent of the population voted for independence, but the poll was marred by violence provoked by pro-Indonesia factions, and thousands of innocent people died. In addition, a third of the population — almost 250,000 people — fled to West Timor to escape the violence.

In the past two years, some of these refugees have returned to East Timor, but many remain in refugee camps in West Timor, which are filled with orphans and children separated from their families.