An “Unknown Escape” and an explanation of the LDP’s Constitution plans; CM of the week: Potenon

In June, 11 Japanese people whose family members died shortly after the end of World War II in the area now called North Korea traveled to the communist country to carry out memorial services for their kin. It was the first time they’d ever done so on North Korean soil.

Approximately 300,000 Japanese were in the area at the close of the war, and the occupying Soviet Army refused to allow them to leave. At least one-tenth are believed to have died of starvation or exposure, but a good number also tried to escape over the 38th Parallel.

NHK will present a special docudrama called “Shirarezaru Dasshutsugeki” (“The Unknown Escape Drama”; NHK-G, Mon., 10 p.m.), which attempts to explain what happened to these people based on records recently uncovered in Russian archives.

During last month’s Upper House election, journalist and master explainer Akira Ikegami was the only TV personality who asked politicians, both losers and winners, the difficult questions that needed to be asked. This Friday, on “Ikegami Akira Kinkyu SP” (“Akira Ikegami Emergency Special”; Fuji TV, 9 p.m.), he will explain in plain language the changes to the Constitution that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has pledged to carry out.

The LDP, in fact, was formed in 1956 by two existing parties that merged for the express purpose of rewriting the Constitution. In this last election most voters were mainly concerned about the economy, but in various surveys about 50 percent of the population have said they think the Constitution should be changed, even though few have actually read it. Ikegami will explain and analyze the charter and point out how everyday life will change in Japan if the proposed amendments are carried out.

CM of the week: Potenon

Airi Taira is sitting in the waiting lounge of a transportation hub and starts eating from a container of Koikeya’s Potenon potato snack. The announcer says, “Te ga deru oishii potato,” which can be interpreted idiomatically as “Delicious potatoes you can’t keep your hands off of,” though visually the commercial takes the phrase “te ga deru” literally: Multiple arms spring from Taira’s torso to stuff the snack into her mouth as the announcer’s description accelerates. The people around her pull away in fear. Potatoes can turn some people into monsters.