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Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008


Plastic surgery, ethical doctors and disability discrimination in public schools

Cosmetic-makeover show "Beauty Colosseum" (Fuji, Tues., 7 p.m.) returns to the airwaves this week with a two-hour special that features examples of some of the newest technological advances in plastic surgery.

Among women volunteering for makeovers is an 18-year-old who doesn't care for her "thin eyes" and "round nose." Moreover, she doesn't like weighing 73 kg, since her size has earned her the nickname niku-jaga (meat and potatoes). Her self-consciousness has driven her deeper into an anime obsession, but recently she formed a crush on a male acquaintance and wants to come out of her shell. The show's team of experts are determined to "make her beautiful."

Also on hand is a 59-year-old woman whose neighbors refer to her as a "mountain demon" because of her bad teeth and saggy jowls. She's also a shut-in. A cosmetic surgeon promises her he can make her look gorgeous, but it will take two months. She agrees.

Tetsuya Wataru plays a more conventional surgeon in the drama special "Kokuchi Sezu" ("Without Notification"; TV Asahi, Sat., 9:03 p.m.). Seiji is a respected veteran doctor whose code of ethics is very strong. He believes in informed consent, the idea that patients should know everything about their condition so that they can make decisions about their treatment. He passes this code to his son, Ryo (Hideaki Takezawa), who has just become an intern. However, when a colleague gives Seiji's wife, Toko (Junko Takahata), a checkup and finds she has cancer, Seiji's conviction wavers. The colleague says Seiji must break the bad news to Toko, but he can't, and as he procrastinates, Toko's condition becomes more dire, creating a dilemma that is both personal and professional.

Nihon TV's late-night documentary series "Document '08" often covers topics that might be considered too sensitive for prime time. This week, the program tackles the issue of disability and the public school system.

In "Musume wa Jiheisho Aru Kazoku no Tatakai 60 Nichi" (The 60-day Battle of a Family with an Autistic Daughter; Nov. 16, 1:00 a.m.), a couple whose 6-year-old autistic daughter has just finished kindergarten try to enroll her in a public elementary school. They believe she can function normally in a regular school, and they also believe that they should be able to send her to any school they want, since a new law allows parents to choose any of the six elementary schools in their town. Their application, however, is rejected by all six, and local authorities tell them that their daughter must go to the school they designate. The parents believe that the authorities are breaking the law.

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