Skip to main content

tv   Heroin USA A Soledad O Brien Special Report  Al Jazeera  December 31, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm EST

3:00 pm
>> translation: of course, we discussed what is necessary to be done to implement the agreement on the syrian settlement reached within the framework of international group of syria and u.n. security council council.
3:01 pm
our joint interest is to contribute to the speediest settlement of the situation in libya, yemen, iraq and other countries of the region. we expressed the support of the further work of the strategic dialect between russia and the council of the cooperation of the arab states, the minister for foreign affairs . already there were three rounds in the countries and to conduct
3:02 pm
next year in moscow. russian, they have their close positions that concerns the importance of the promotion of the concept of safety with the participation of the countries of the region. we shared with our colleagues the renewed consideration of the russian party on the safety in
3:03 pm
the area of the gulf, taking into account the latest development, including the reaching of the agreement on the settlement of the situation regarding the nuclear program and including the abrupt escalation of the terrorist threat for all of us. we agreed about the time scale of the closest context, the political context for the talks on all these issues and other issues which are of mutual interest.
3:04 pm
thank you very much. >> translation: i thankise excellency lavrov, the russian government and the russian people for their hospitality. the talks we had today were good and constructive . the talks is completion of the previous talks between the two countries, between russia and qatar, and we are both interested in these relations and expecting these relations.
3:05 pm
of course, there are so many aspects political, economic, cultural and the exchange in commerce and investment and cooperation in the field of energy and gas . we in qatar always look forward to more cooperation with russia. i spoke with the minister and i said that we have big responsibilities towards our people's.
3:06 pm
particularly within the challenges in the region. this needs cooperation in order to chief peace, welfare and security in our countries. that's why we spot today and we exshake our viewpoints with developments and incidents in the international and regional levels.
3:07 pm
the purpose of maintaining and keeping international peace and security in russia has a big aand i think that was a major problem of emergency services trying to get their way through to the address, because of the traffic here on new year's eve, they really struggled to get there quicker than what they would have liked to. >> certainly, traffic is a problem in dubai even when things are in december, it is a time when many tourists like to go over for the christmas holidays, and new years people will be out and about on the road, not just foreigners but ex-pats and emeratis. the smoke billowing from the
3:08 pm
fire, goes three quarters of the way up to the birch jalifa which is 830 meters high. the tallest building in the world, this gives you a scale of the i severity of the fire itse. you heard a balcony collapse and explosions, roughly how many explosions have you heard? >> the noise of around four explosions and with those explosions we saw the bursts of flames coming out the side of the hotel, which caused distress. people seeing fireworks coming out of the burg chalifa, really thinking about the address hotel and seeing how safe they are. it is the busiest time as you
3:09 pm
set, that dubai, it was a show that they were putting on for the whole world to witness, but instead it looks like the hotel has taken the world by shock instead of the beautiful fireworks that are coming out. >> how many people are you seeing in the surrounding area near the grounds of the hotel where the fire has broken out? >> well, witnessing from the balcony here, i'm looking down towards the sheik side road. people outside of their cars, where the traffic is, onto the side road. i saw earlier about a half an hour ago, a lot of people work away from the burge khalifa, purely from being scared and trying to get a bit of safety. people are kind of stopped on the side of the road, the beautiful set of fireworks that the country of dubai has put on.
3:10 pm
>> you are not far from the hotel itself, are you hearing any word on the possibility of your building being evacuated? >> in terms of buildings being evacuated i'm not entirely sure about that. i woafnlt be abl -- woarnlt beig able to tell you that. i know they are hosting over 2 million people for new year's, a number of people around the hotel will be around the tens of thousands. >> you say there are a number of people out of the hotel, would you say it has been evacuated and the area is now being sealed off? >> all i could say, originally, people moving away from the vicinity of downtown dubai and the vicinity of dubai and the burge khalifa.
3:11 pm
i know people evacuated, i'm not really sure -- >> can you see people still coming out of the hotel? >> no, i can't. there's a lot of emergency services around, there is actually a building that is blocking my view of people coming out but i can see on the other side you know still a lot of people gathered around. where it was designated for people to watch, another area, what the emergency services are doing down there i can't exactly tell from the height i am. i'm witnessing just the thick black smoke which is still covering downtown dubai, increasing just because of the extra explosions that happened before the fireworks that happened here in dubai. >> so your view is obstructed buy building and there is a great deal of smoke can you see
3:12 pm
any ambulance services? >> all i know is that there has been fire engines, sheer amount of police, plenty of ambulances. i think here in dubai the ambulance service has orange flashing lights, the police blue. not exactly sure, the fire service, i'm watching from 33 floors into the sky and it's quite difficult to distinguish exactly what emergency services are down there. trying to struggle to get to downtown dubai. >> can you give us an idea roughly how many ambulance trucks you can see there, in amongst the crowds and the traffic, in front of you?
3:13 pm
>> in terms of the whole emergency services, maryam, i would say well into the hundreds. i think dubai reacted quite slow. they were very efficient with their kind of trask policy that they had in terms of getting people to the burj khalifa. very controlled. however, i don't think they saw something like this happening in terms of emergency services having to get to such a big kind of tragic display like this. and i think they've struggled, i think that could be quite costly. when it comes to counting the injury or i don't really want to say it but death toll as well. >> it's unclear at this time exactly how many people have been injured. just bear with us because we'll take our viewers through exactly what we are seeing at the moment. a fire has broken out at a residential building and a
3:14 pm
hotel, the address hotel in dubai, not far from the burj khalifa, the world's tallest building, some 850 meters high. as we have heard from one eyewitness who is there, a number of fire brigades, four fire brigade teams are at the site. given the scale of this blaze perhaps they may have increased in number, we're not sure if there are more fire brigades, more firefighters involved in battling this fire now, which has been raging for over 60 minutes. we know that civil defense teams have been working very hard to evacuate the hotel. it probably -- we're not sure if it's been completely evacuated, though, given the time that has passed and the emergency crews that are currently on the scene. one would imagine that most people this includes tourists, locals who would have been at
3:15 pm
the hotel at the time and of course employees may have been evacuated by now. but you can see a very different scene on the left side of your screen. they wasted no time in saying that the festivities would go on in dubai. this is a time of year that is very popular with tourists, people make special trips odubai, it's christmas, the holiday season, people will make trips to dubai to see in the new year, to enjoy the fire work display and the government said the festivities would go on despite the fire raging at the address hotel. we are hearing from authorities that the blaze is 90% under control. would you say that's consistent what you've been seeing over the past hour? >> from what i've been seeing i don't believe that's true at all. i'm aware that the dubai authorities have kind of got
3:16 pm
that percentage from, that blaze is definitely not under control, especially ten minutes before midnight, there was another big flame which came out from the side of the building, there was another loit -- another explosion obviously other things fell or catching fire, i genuinely don't believe that blaze is 90% under control. there are still sheer amounts of thick smoke coming from the address hotel. if the emergency services acted quicker, there was a plan put in place, and i think maybe we would be near that 90%. we are not near that maryam. >> in terms of the lines we have been getting, the media office of the government of dubai have been fairly active on their twitter feed, they have been updating in both arabic and
3:17 pm
english. the latest suggested that 14 people were slightly injured, one was injured moderately. there has been one case of a heart attack caused by a tax peed of smoke, spread by the fire. and they say that no children, no children are among the injured. that's the latest from the media office. i'm looking at their tweets, 2 minutes ago, from the burrj khalifa, one gets impression from looking at this at which timer feed, the government of dubai shows that life goes on, their celebration their plans continued and in the last i would say swreef not been getting any information for
3:18 pm
about 40 minutes. >> 16 injured that number's just gone up by two. i'm glad to hear that no children have been involved. but i think that in the next havment hour or so i genuinely believe that number is going to rise because of the sheer number i've seen on the address hotel. it's a busy hotel. >> where did you fet the figure 16 from? >> i'm seeing this figure live now on television. on an alternative news channel. >> right. >> i believe they've received that from some dubai authorities as well. so that's the number that they've been reporting there. thank you very much for joining us and shedding a bit of light on what you've been seeing and hearing there in dubai on
3:19 pm
holiday just opposite the address hotel. it's been explaining what he's been seeing during the course of the past hour fire raging, we don't know what caused the fire, emergency services on the scene. the blaze started on the 20th floor on the outside of the tower. and we understand that there were internal firefighting statements that we don't know if the official reports coming from the media office of the government of dubai saying that four fire brigades were at the site of the fire but perhaps there are more involved now given the severity of the blaze and the scale of this building.
3:20 pm
he saw a balcony collapse, fire billowing upwards. the burg khalifa is not far from the address hotel. the smoke billowing up into the sky, the smoke reaching three quarters of the way up the 828 meter high building, the burj khalifa. clearly firefighters struggling to contain the blaze and get the situation under some sort of control. let's listen into an eyewitness i spoke to a few minutes ago, she witnessed the fire from the balcony some 150 meertsdz away. >> we were having a reasonably quiet there, call from the friend, went out onto the
3:21 pm
balcony, it was seriously going up very fast. i've seen a couple of explosions recently, and -- or a couple of bangs i should say. but yes, it's been on fire probably for a good hour now. pushed everyone away from below the building so it's completely surrounded by fire trucks. the wind has kind of blown -- blown the fire in one direction which has been great so it hasn't actually wrapped around the building. it's been trying to condense it on one side. but i'm looking at it now, and there's still out of the building being attended to,. >> eyewitness speaking to us a little while ago, saying there were residents emerging, a great
3:22 pm
deal of capacity, popular time of year, a great deal of people evacuating, the employees of the hotel itself. emergency services are on the scene, police ambulances and fire crews in terms of the number of people who have been injured about 14 people. minor injuries that's what the authorities say. one moderate. one heart attack case has been reported as well. no children are thought to be amongst the injured but over 60 minutes and that fire continuing to burn on top of that there have also been a number of explosions heard around the edges of the building itself. and as those explosions went off, burst of flames coming from the edges of the building. the last we heard from the media office, they said they were trying to prevent the fire from getting inside the hotel but
3:23 pm
it's unclear whether it's penetrated the inside of the hotel yet. we'll stay across this and bring you are more from dubai as it comes into us. let's stay a look at the some of the day's other news now. the iranian president hasan rouhani, in direct response to the fact that united states is planning another round of financial restrictions against iran. now to syria where a battle is underway that could have a significant impact on the course of the country's war. government forces backed by russian fighter jets have launched a major campaign to recapture sheik miskeen, south of the capital damascus. rebel forces are fighting back as hashem ahelbarra reports. >> these rebel fighters are on
3:24 pm
the counteroffensive. they are launching an attack to repel government treups troops in sheik miskeen an opposition stronghold in southern syria. they say that many terms that were part of the government offensive were early destroyed or forced to retreat. but the army backed by russian fighter jets say the fight is almost over. that the city will soon be under its control. >> the russian arrival is like a game-changer. it added more military assets, more air power, more intelligence, since we know earlier when president assad in his speech said we are -- i don't have enough personnel in order to fight. so accordingly, the russians are hee trying to you know limit the spillover, spill back of the regime.
3:25 pm
>> darrah is the birth place of syria's uprising. while the capital of the province is still under the government's control the rebels have captured most of the towns. darrah is crucial for both sides. if captured by government forces the rebels will have to pull out. it's fall is also going to be bad news for rebel factions based on the outskirts of dmafntion. darrah is also a vital route of weapons and recrooults in southern syria. mainly el nusra front, free syrian army brigade and other fighters. but the opposition rebels have been weakened by divisions and rebel fighting. the opposition has called for the rebels to set their differences aside, a defeat at this particular moment could undermine the chances of the
3:26 pm
rebels pushing from more concessions from the government in the upcoming talks that will be held in geneva. hashem ahelbarra, al jazeera, darrah southern turkey. drive by shooting in the yemeni city of aden. shot after holding over control of the key port to government troops. one of the last working hospitals says it came under attack on monday. rob matheson has the story. >> reporter: at the closing of the year no letup in the fighting in yemen, hospitals are on the front line in the battle between the rebels and supporters of the internationally recognized government of abd rabbu mansour hadi. medical staff are struggling to cope. in ta'izz they plead for more oxygen supplies.
3:27 pm
without them, they say, medical care will suffocate. >> translator: we are protesting today because we are no longer able to save our patients. they arrive but we cannot help them. there is no surgery no equipment. >> people having been treated in the hospital have to bring their own oxygen bottles. >> i had to get it from outside the hospital because none are available here. >> reporter: the united nations say more than 21 million yemenis need humanitarian aid, more than 80% of the population. but houthi rebels are not letting the aid through. some saudi arabia has led a coalition fighting the houthi rebels. both have been criticized for the number of civilians killed and injured in bombing campaigns. saudi arabia says its humanitarian convoys are being targeted. >> attack on some of ours and other organizations, either by
3:28 pm
military people or nonmilitary people who are attacking those humanitarian aid and we are calling all of those people that are violating the international law. >> the patients at al fara hospital are unlikely to care where the aid comes from, just as long as it comes. rob matheson, al jazeera. >> cities around the world are on high security alert, as they usher in 2016. securities has been cancelled in brussels but everywhere else, celebrations have overshadowed security concerns. sydney hosted two fireworks displays totaling 700 tons of fireworks. the biggest ever for the city.
3:29 pm
meanwhile, taiwan launched its new year from its tallest building. taipei's 101 k ao. in 2016, china will be celebrating the year again welcoming in the year of the monkey. new year's fireworks celebrations went on in dubai despite a massive fire in the city. the blaze started outside the five star address hotel. authorities say four squads of firefighters are working to control the fire and 16 people have been injured. witnesses that we've spoken to have said that a number of explosion were heard, thick smoke continuing to billow into the air. we understand the address hotel itself has 196 rooms. seven restaurants. on 53 floors. so we're talking about an extensive hotel. there would have been a number -- we don't know if the
3:30 pm
hotel had reached full occupancy, but at the time of year, a very popular sometime of year with tour it's and localities, the hotel has been evacuated. the cause of the blaze is not clear. we'll bring you more on this later. >> tonight... roxana saberi returns to her mother's homeland in a personal and revealing journey from hiroshima, a moment that still resonates 70 years later... >> there were corpses and bones everywhere, it's hard for me to come here again. >> to okinawa, where the presence of u.s. troops remains contentious. >> no osprey! >> and, in a culture resistant to change, how one woman is blazing new trails. >> in the future, i hope to see mixed race people commonly accepted. >> journey to japan. >> i'm roxana saberi in hiroshima. a city known to many through
3:31 pm
history books and images seared into our collective memory. when the u.s. dropped atomic bombs here and on nagasaki 70 years ago, it led to the quick end of a long war. for people here and across the world, things would never be the same. we traveled here to japan to learn about the legacy of those fateful days and to look at america's continuing influence on these islands. we begin here in hiroshima and our conversations with two survivors of the atomic bomb. >> it was a bright day with a blue sky, hot and humid like today. what a nice day! >> setsuko nakamura thurlow was 13 when the enola gay dropped an atomic bomb on her hometown of hiroshima, japan. thurlow saw a bluish-white flash, and the walls around her came crashing down. >> and then i had the sensation
3:32 pm
of floating in the air. obviously the blast just was collapsing the building. >> a mile and a half away, kenji kitagawa was at school. he was playing the organ before class when he saw the same flash. >> it was followed by a 'bang, bang'. then came a huge blast. i hid behind the organ, but all the students by the windows were instantly burned to a crisp. >> i realized i was pinned under the collapsed building. >> after a while, i regained consciousness. it was pitch dark, and i could hear other students screaming. >> mother, help me! god, help me! >> i managed to dig my way out. >> by the time i came out, it was burning. that meant most of the girls who were in the same room were burnt to death alive.
3:33 pm
of course, i didn't know it was a nuclear weapon at that time. >> three days later, on august 9, 1945, the u.s. dropped another nuclear bomb, on nagasaki. within a week, japan surrendered and world war two was over. seven decades on, hiroshima has been rebuilt. so has kitagawa's school... but in the back yard, sits a reminder of its dark past. i asked kitagawa to explain what it means to him. >> it honors the hundreds of students and teachers killed here. after the bombing, there were corpses and bones everywhere. so it's hard for me to come here again. but the fact is that i survived and many others didn't, so it's important for me to come and pray for them. >> does the u.s. owe you and people like you an apology? >> that's a normal expectation when somebody does wrong against you...
3:34 pm
we've waited 70 years, it hasn't happened. >> what about the argument that using nuclear weapons on japan helped end the war sooner and maybe saved hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides? >> well, that's american myth. it was obvious to many people it was going to end soon because japan was already incapable of fighting. >> historians debate those points to this day. but thurlow has spent her life determined that nuclear weapons should never be used again. we first met in april when she was marching to the u.n., demanding that countries do more to eliminate nuclear weapons. >> we have been telling the world what we experienced, how horrible it is and so forth, and nothing is happening. >> now as japan marks 70 years since the bombs fell... the number of people who can describe their memories of that devastation is dwindling. >> i do sometimes feel powerless
3:35 pm
that the world doesn't really care what happened here, but as long as i have time on this earth, i will keep spreading the word about the dangers of nuclear weapons. >> the bombs could be used again, if they forget our experiences and the meaning of hiroshima and nagasaki. >> people here tell us that when the atomic bomb dropped on this city 70 years ago, even the cicadas chirping in the trees around me fell silent. japan remains the only country to have been attacked by nuclear bombs but in the years that followed, it embraced nuclear energy more than others. harry fawcett reports on how a population recovering from a nuclear strike has been able to separate nuclear energy from nuclear weapons. >> 70 years ago nagasaki became the site of the world's second nuclear attack. with two cities in radioactive ruins, japan's government made plans for surrender.
3:36 pm
70 years on, nagasaki's recovery mirrors japan's remarkable transformation. one that saw its leaders embrace the technology that had defeated the country - to help power its resurgence. >> because japan had suffered from nuclear bombing, so we have a right - they say - to promote and change the possibility of atomic energy. >> it was a policy that coincided with us president dwight eisenhower's "atoms for peace" initiative - with promotional exhibitions across japan. but the sales pitch was made harder by continued u.s. nuclear weapons testing. in particular when a japanese fishing boat,the daigo fukuryu maru, was doused in the fallout from a u.s. test at bikini atoll. at first matashichi oishi thought it was a strange snowfall... the symptoms came later. >> my face turned black, and my skin started to fall off. but i concealed it from everyone
3:37 pm
because i didn't want my family and i to face discrimination. >> renewed nuclear fears manifested in cinemas that year: godzilla, raised from the deep by atomic testing, wrought indiscriminate destruction on japanese cities. but as japan began to build nuclear power plants in the 1960s, a very different figure emerged. astro boy was the epitome of moral science - the savior robot powered by a nuclear reactor. his creator always denied he was a pro-nuclear symbol. but the industry still used his image in pamphlets like this, in which he carries nuclear plant to a far-off jungle; where it saves freezing animals and survives an earthquake and tsunami unscathed. >> for decades as japan's economy soared, national confidence surged, and japanese factories fueled by nuclear energy exported products and know-how to the world - those sorts of promotional messages chimed with what many people in this country were experiencing. but in 2011, faith in nuclear power and the institutions designed to ensure its safety
3:38 pm
was shaken to its core. >> in the aftermath of the fukushima disaster, every one of japan's nuclear reactors gradually shut down; a majority of public opinion is against restarting them. japan's prime minister shinzo abe has made it clear that just as in the 1950s, such concerns are trumped by the energy nuclear reactors offer a resource poor nation. >> people's opinions are still split. but those who hadn't thought about nuclear power before, started to after the incident - and they began to realize the dangers. >> last month, the reactor at the sendai power plant became the first since fukushima to restart; and with it, japan's fraught, 70-year relationship with the power of the atom. >> so harry we just saw in your package how there have been a lot of government efforts here in japan to separate the nuclear attacks on this country from the idea of peaceful nuclear energy. it seems pretty amazing, doesn't it, how successful these efforts have been? >> that's right, certainly in the early days when japan had very recently been through the
3:39 pm
sorts of horrors that are being commemorated here in hiroshima and in nagasaki - a population that had been through that seemed ready within a few years to start embracing nuclear power... the same sort of technology that had been unleashed in such a destructive way. i think you have to remember that there was a very powerful u.s. occupation administration for the first 7 years after the war. followed by a very powerful japanese government which didn't really have much of an opposition to the ruling party here in japan so they did have the levers of power that enabled them to make the decision that as a resource poor country, one that needed to grow economically very quickly, that nuclear power was the way to go. but they also did expend a lot of energy in trying to convince the public that this was the right option. and for many decades, that was how it went. >> so how has public opinion changed since the fukushima disaster? >> well i think fukushima was perhaps the bookend of this story. you have the nuclear attacks at one end and the fukushima disaster and the tsunami and the earthquake in 2011 at the other end.
3:40 pm
and a lot of japanese people, i think, felt that their faith in nuclear power was, was shaken and there was kind of almost a unification of the fears of nuclear energy and the kind of fears, the horrors that were visited on hiroshima and nagasaki. >> and one more question... what do you think about the government's argument that there is an economic justification for using nuclear energy here in japan? >> japan is resource poor. it has had since fukushima to import vast amounts of oil and coal and other fossil fuels. so that argument does hold some weight but at the same time, perceptions have shifted so hugely since fukushima that the government at the time promised to end nuclear power generation by the end of the 2030s. that has been entirely reversed by this current administration. they don't really seem to care that public opinion would suggest otherwise. >> thank you for joining us harry. 70 years ago the end of world war ii brought the u.s. military to many parts of this
3:41 pm
island nation, changing the character and landscape of this country. coming up, we'll take you to okinawa where a new fight is on to get many of those americans out.
3:42 pm
3:43 pm
>> from hiroshima and stories about a painful past, we've traveled here to okinawa, where concerns about the u.s. military are very much a present-day issue. with 32 sites scattered across this island, more than 25,000 american troops are stationed here. the u.s. and japan say these troops are needed to maintain regional security; but through nearly daily protests in the streets, it's clear some of the residents here want the u.s. to go. >> in a northern okinawan village, the toguchis pack up every saturday night, and drive
3:44 pm
five minutes to protest. [yelling in japanese]. they've come here every week for 11 years, lighting candles and calling on people in passing cars to support their cause. >> we already have a lot of bases in okinawa. we don't want any more. >> naze kichi wo hantei desuka? i asked him why not. >> they could take us into another war. with more bases, other countries will be more likely to target us. and american troops in okinawa have committed crimes and sexual assaults. if we build another base here, we could have the same problems. >> they're protesting against the construction of a new u.s. military base, called henoko, next to camp schwab. it's set to replace an aging airfield, farther south. >> so the toguchi family lives in the village right over here and you can see across the bay, the place where the new base is supposed to be built. there are plans for multiple runways, helipads, an ammunition and fuel depot and also a pier
3:45 pm
for docking large ships. >> opposition to the new base is growing louder and sometimes, breaks into confrontations. >> they're saying they're protecting us, but actually i don't think so... like, yeah. i'm afraid of them doing a war here. >> today okinawa hosts half of the 50,000 american troops based in japan. japan and the u.s. say america's presence here is needed to keep stability in a region where tensions with china and north korea are rising, but the city's mayor told us he wants the u.s. military to leave. >> it's true that both the japanese and american governments view us as the strategic point of military presence, but i think that also means we can be a hub for international trade and cultural interactions. >> the new base, he says, could ruin that potential. >> the planned airfield will destroy the beautiful nature in
3:46 pm
the area, and it will obstruct our future development. >> it's about a 60-minute drive south from henoko where the new base is supposed to be, to futenma, which is the base it's supposed to replace. we're gonna to head down there to see what residents here are worried about coming to their area. >> kazunobu akamine can see futenma base from his roof. he gave us this video, showing an osprey flying over his neighborhood, setting off alarms. the u.s. military says it's cut back flights because of complaints like his. >> no osprey! >> i asked akamine whether he wanted the bases to be moved to mainland japan. >> the bases belong to the americans, so they should take them back to america. >> we just finished speaking with a public affairs officer with the marines here at camp foster. she told us she couldn't go on camera, but she explained the
3:47 pm
reason there are so many american troops here instead of the rest of japan is that this is the place japan's government has offered to the u.s. she also called critics of the american's presence here, a vocal minority. >> and we did find a handful of supporters just outside... scraping tape off the fences, stuck there by protesters. >> having the americans bases here helps keep the peace in asia. i believe most people here support the bases. >> some okinawans support the bases because they bring jobs to one of japan's poorest regions. at restaurants and bars like this one, most customers come from u.s. bases. >> without the americans, our business would suffer a lot. >> we'd heard some okinawans complain that drinking sometimes leads to rowdiness and fights. we asked this marine from nebraska about it. >> there's fights, but they get in trouble for it... their unit suffers... they go out and ruin it for everybody.
3:48 pm
>> on the record, the u.s. military told us it's always difficult when two cultures live side by side, but the u.s. will keep trying to be a good neighbor. and japan's government has suspended construction on the new base for a month to hold talks with local leaders. but the toguchis say they'll keep fighting their battle - to keep american forces out of their back yard. >> 11 years sounds long, but i will keep doing this until they stop the construction of the new base. and even if they don't, i won't give up. >> while the debate over the u.s. presence in okinawa continues, its strategic location means the american military is likely here to stay. up next, we travel to tokyo, where we'll meet the beauty queen who's forcing japan to rethink what it means to be japanese.
3:49 pm
3:50 pm
>> the sports story everyone's talking about.
3:51 pm
>> don't miss the world exclusive undercover investigation. only on al jazeera america. >> around 127 million people live in this island nation, it's one of the most homogenous countries in the world. people here who are only half japanese are called "hafu", and when a hafu became miss japan earlier this year, it reignited a discussion about what it means to be bi-racial. >> ariana miyamoto says in her native land of japan, most people see her as a foreigner. >> my appearance isn't asian, but i think i'm very much japanese on the inside. >> miyamoto was born to a japanese mother and an african-american sailor, who left japan when she was a child. in japan, she's called a "hafu", or half-japanese.
3:52 pm
>> i don't think the equivalent word for hafu exists overseas, but in japan you need that word to explain who you are. >> in pictures from her childhood, with a friend, on the volleyball team and in middle school, miyamoto looks happy. but she says she was constantly bullied, and called kurumbo, the japanese equivalent of the "n" word. >> i didn't cope at all. i didn't tell my parents or my friends. i was the type to just keep it inside me. >> after two years getting to know her dad in arkansas, miyamoto returned to japan and dropped out of high school. then one day, a close friend, who was also mixed-race, killed himself... inspiring her to find a way to speak out for other hafus in japan. at 20, miyamoto became the first half-black japanese woman to be named miss japan. many cheered, but some japanese complained that she didn't deserve the title.
3:53 pm
"i don't mean to discriminate," one post read, "but i wonder how a hafu can represent japan". another person tweeted: "i didn't know miss japan doesn't have to be pure japanese. what a shock"! >> what does it feel like when you hear from people that you're not japanese enough? >> i ran for miss japan expecting some criticism, so it wasn't such a big surprise for me. but of course, those kinds of comments don't make me feel good, so i try my best to turn them into positive motivations. >> how much does japan embrace diversity? >> how should i put this? i think we have a long way to go." >> in japan, immigration is restricted to a trickle... and fitting in is often preferred to sticking out. >> the general feeling here is that we as a nation have a lot of virtues and social cohesion because of homogeneity. >> the reality is that over the last 20 years there has been a doubling of the percentage of the population that's
3:54 pm
foreigners. >> japan's government says just over 3 percent of children born here every year have a foreign parent or parents - and in this crowded country, this minority is starting to stand out. >> hafus are showing up on tv... and in ads. >> we're in shinjuku, the busiest train station in tokyo, and when we look up, this is what we see... a japanese-italian model, advertising for a japanese department store. she's the face of a campaign placing importance on japanese traditions, and she's only half japanese. >> ian herman is a hafu, whose father is american. teased as a kid, he turned to rap music. now 16... he's just signed with sony music in japan. >> it's fine to be different as long as you have your own pride, then like no one can stop you. girls love the hafus, so (laughs), you know... there's nothing wrong with that! >> he says it's "cool" that miss
3:55 pm
japan is a hafu too, because she shows japan can appreciate diversity. >> we're all the same people and we just grew up in japan so, why not be called japanese. >> miyamoto may be making the biggest strides for black hafus by challenging the widespread view here that lighter skin is more beautiful. >> i don't think much has changed, but in the future i hope to see japan more like america, where mixed-race people are commonly accepted. >> do you have any advice for other young people who are feeling like they're not accepted because of their mixed race background? >> i want them to think 'it's ok to be who you are'. there isn't another you out there and it's no fun when everybody's the same. so i would like for them to believe in themselves and don't care too much about what other people say. >> in researching this story i thought a lot about what it means for me to be hafu. my mom is japanese, my dad is iranian and i grew up in the
3:56 pm
united states. this is the first time in 20 years i have been back to my mother's homeland. >> these are the crowds... the customs... and the high speed trains i remember from my previous trips to japan. my mom sent me here three times -- to get in touch with my japanese heritage. i often neglected it, growing up in north dakota, because i wanted to fit in. the last time i was here i was a teenager, teaching english to junior high school students. on this fourth trip, for work, i saw things i didn't see before... more young people asserting their individuality - in a culture that emphasizes the team. on this trip, i learned more about the nuances of being a hafu in japan. i'd never realized that being half black in japan, like ariana miyamoto could be harder than being half-japanese and half-iranian.
3:57 pm
i wondered if one reason i always felt welcome here was because i'm considered light-skinned. i also felt torn between my mother's native land and mine, after speaking with supporters of america's military presence in japan... and those against it. we're supposed to write messages of peace and hope on parchments like this. what i feel most strongly on this trip is that despite our differences, we are all, as other hafu here told me, part of one humanity. this is supposed to offer comfort to the souls of the people killed by the atomic bomb... hopefully these messages will resonate somewhere in the world. 70 years after the u.s. ushered the world into the nuclear age, the relationship between japan and the u.s. continues to evolve. in tokyo, i'm roxana saberi.
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
>> elderly americans addicted to painkillers prescribed by doctors. >> have you ever thought about going off of your painkiller dosage? >> no. i don't know if i'd have the courage to stop it. >> but is it leading to abuse more than it's helping. >> he would prescribe what he felt was appropriate... the result, she died. >> faultlines checks into rehab to investigate who's responsible for the hidden epidemic. >> i was just doin' what the doctor's told me to do.
4:00 pm
hello, you are watching the news hour live from london, coming up, the huge fire rips through a high-rise hotel in due bay, at least 13 people are injured. a key town in syria. after reports of new sanctions from the united states.

37 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on