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Sunday, May 16, 2004

CHANNEL SURF

TBS's "Sekai Fushigi Hakken" and more

Uniqlo, the no-frills clothing store that took the retail trade by storm in the late '90s, saw its fortunes take a nose dive after the turn of the century. The company has attempted to remedy the problem of poor sales with an expanded product line. However, the chairman has decided that what the company really needs is a change in personnel policy.

On Tuesday at 10 p.m., TV Tokyo's business documentary show, "Dawn of Gaia," looks at Uniqlo's new personnel development manual, which was inspired by a junior high-school track-and-field coach who transformed a group of violent teenagers into Japan's No. 1 junior high-school athletics team. His secret is to treat his charges as individuals with their own original needs and responsibilities. The program shows how Uniqlo has adopted these ideas and focuses on a 25-year-old female store manager who is benefiting from the policy.

On May 22, the Hollywood epic "Troy" opens in Japan. The movie offers a version of the Trojan War chronicled in Homer's "The Iliad," which for centuries was considered a legend. However, in 1870, German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered stone walls and battlements in an area near the Aegean Sea. These buried ruins are now considered to be the ancient city of Troy.

Schliemann is the subject of TBS' world history quiz show, "Sekai Fushigi Hakken" (Saturday, 9 p.m.). The program describes Schliemann's childhood fascination with the Trojan War, and how he and his wife dug for three years before discovering the ruins that made him famous. In the years since his death, however, some archaeologists have raised doubts about these discoveries.

In 1998, NHK broadcast a documentary called "Manhole Children" that was later shown by many TV stations throughout the world. The program was about homeless children living on the streets of Mongolia's capital, Ulan Bator. Following the nation's change from an autocratic socialist system to a democratic system in the '90s, many state-run corporations in Mongolia closed, and a large portion of the population was plunged into poverty. During the socialist era, large families were encouraged, and women who had lots of babies were rewarded by the state. Following the collapse of socialism, some of these families could not keep these children and many were abandoned on the street.

On May 23, NHK's BS-1 station will broadcast an update of the documentary that will show how the homeless situation in Ulan Bator has been aggravated by nomads from the countryside. In the winter, when temperatures can fall as low as 40 degrees below zero, the only warm places are manholes. The children who lived in these manholes are now being "evicted" by homeless nomads, thus leaving the children to die of exposure.



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