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Sunday, Nov. 30, 2003

Channel surf

Digital terrestrial broadcasts start on Dec. 1, but only in selected portions of Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya. Japan's broadcast system will go completely digital by 2011, but this week only NHK will present a program that takes advantage of the technology. At 11 a.m. on Dec. 1, footage of a series of U.N. heritage sites throughout the world (the Statue of Liberty, the Acropolis, etc.) will be broadcast. In order to enjoy them properly, however, you need a digital tuner and a high-definition monitor, which, considering the price tag at the moment, very few people possess. But you have to start somewhere.

Wills are rare in Japan owing to strict inheritance laws that tend to guarantee that immediate family members receive the property of the deceased, regardless of the deceased's wishes. On Nov. 30 at 9, the variety show "Hakkutsu Aruaru Daijiten" presents a special program about wills and shows viewers how they can get around the law to ensure their wishes are carried out after they die.

The show gives tips on how to set up your funerals to your taste (for instance, the background music) rather than your family's. Also, for those who want to have their ashes scattered somewhere, information is given about conditions and prohibitions.

They also explain the law with regard to property inheritance and tell you how to right a will that can prevent that ungrateful son or that cheating wife/husband from getting their dirty hands on your hard-earned money.

The Liberal Democratic Party is mad at TV Asahi for what it calls biased reporting during the last Lower House election. It is also mad at TV Asahi's weekly political discussion show, "TV Tackle" (Monday, 9 p.m.) because of its creative editing techniques.

The show's main appeal is the knock-down, drag-out arguments that flair up among politicians and pundits. Beat Takeshi's role is to halt these fights with silly jokes.

This week's topic is education, specifically the declining academic performance of Japanese students. Whose fault is it? The schools? The government? Parents?

Former politician and Women's Studies professor Yoko Tajima returns to "TV Tackle" to take on the conservatives who claim that the current trend for "easier education" is destroying Japanese youth.

On Wednesday at 9:15 p.m., NHK-G presents a special report that addresses new evidence about the negotiations that led up to the Pacific War between Japan and the United States.

Most historians believe that Japan made its final, irrevocable decision to attack the United States following the so-called "Hull Note," named after then Secretary of State Cordell Hull, who took an unexpectedly hardline stance in the peace negotiations.

Two years ago, it was discovered in the diaries of Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek that China was making a concerted effort to sink the peace negotiations.

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