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CONNECT THE WORLD
Worldwide Delta Airlines Shutdown Leaves Thousands Stranded; Japanese Emperor Makes Rare Address on Television; After Successes, Rebels Express Desire To Retake All of Aleppo; President Erdogan Comes out in Favor of Reinstating Death Penalty. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired August 8, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:26] LYNDA KINKADE, HOST: Unacceptable practice: the World Anti- Doping Agency has harsh words for Brazil's Olympic team. Why it says the host country came up short when it comes to drug testing samples.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A rigged system. Rigged. Rigged. Rigged. Rig the system. Totally rigged. Rigged.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Trump and the media war: questions over the Republican presidential nominee's new claims and what the latest polling numbers
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AKIHITO, EMPEROR OF JAPAN (through translator): I'm older than 80 years now
and sometimes feel various kinds of limitations due to physical weakness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: A rare public address. Japan's 82-year-old emperor raising concerns about his
future ability to serve. We look back at the country's imperial line that has been unbroken for 14 centuries.
Hello. I'm Lynda Kinkade sitting in for Becky Anderson.
Well, if doping hasn't overshadowed the summer Olympics already, new revelations show the Brazilian team failed to provide sufficient testing
samples ahead of the games. Brazil blames the shortfall on the temporary shutdown of a testing lab. But critics are skeptical. Our Nick Paton
Walsh has this exclusive report.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Drugs in sport: a pleague. Russian Paralympians banned, many other Russian athletes, as
well. One Kenyan official sent home. What next?
Well, CNN can reveal the record of the host team, Brazil, is now under renewed criticism, as they gave only about a third as many samples to their
own anti-doping agency as would be normal in the crucial month leading up to the games.
Brazil's ministry of sport has told CNN they gave 110 samples between the first and 24th of
July. Mormally, they admitted, they would give about 300 for their team of 477 athletes, the second biggest of the games.
They say they had problems because this laboratory, the only one in Brazil accredited by
the world anti-doping watchdog to test Olympic samples, was closed down for about a month in
late June, because anti-doping officials said it wasn't performing well enough.
While Brazilian officials admit this means testing slowed, even stopped for a bit, it is now
apparent they also stopped collecting samples from their athletes at the level they normally would. That could leave a permanent hole in their
record of what anti-doping officials have called, quote, the most crucial period. That just before the games.
Doping is overshadowed these Olympics, strange as that sounds in a setting stunning like this but what's key is that this is the home team, the hosts.
They want to avoid scandal at all costs. So it is remarkable that in the crucial months before this city opened its arms to the athletes,Brazilian
officials seemed to have allowed their doping testing program to have slipped this much.
Brazil's ministry of sport denies any wrongdoing and says the reduction in samples collected was partly because the laboratory was unable to process
them and had its accreditation suspended.
A spokesman blamed the doping watchdog for closing the laboratory and said Brazil is doing, quote, a very good job against doping.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
KINKADE: Well, Nick Paton Walsh joins us now from Rio.
And Nick, as you mentioned in that great report, the host nation has already faced ascensions by the World Anti-Doping Agency. What else could
it face in light of these new revelations?
WALSH: Well, the sanctions they faced were a referral by the world anti- doping watchdog to what they call its compliance review committee, which WADA, the World Anti-
Doping Agency say is a serious step. the issue here really comes down to are these samples somewhere in existence in a refrigerator that nobody is
aware of or were they not taken?
Now, the latter seems more feasible, because that's what the ministry of sports is saying to us as is the world anti-doping watchdog.
So, there came a period in which the Brazilian ministry of sports say they lacked the technical
ability to take enough samples in order to have them tested at a later date. That's the issue.
You know, you can be tested through a period by having samples collected. Even if you can't process them fast enough, you can later on be sure that
during that period a team had a clean record.
But there's a hole here for Brazil because during that period two-thirds of what should have been taken, it seems, were not taken. The question really
is why is that the case? And why were they not taken and simply put in layman's terms in a refrigerator for later testing?
That's the scrutiny Brazil is under now.
There is a secondary issue, too, in which the anti-doping watchdog, WADA, says well they understand it was the ministry of sports telling the
laboratory to take less samples. The ministry denies that categorically and says it was a technical decision by the laboratories, by the Brazilian
anti-doping organization, that they weren't able to take them fast enough.
So, a back and forth here.
But all of this aside, it is a pretty simple thing to make sure you've taken enough samples from your athletes during that crucial period to avoid
these kind of suspicions. And so Brazil faces these questions at a time when it is many other issues encircling these games. You think the clean
slate of their athletes would be one they would be very keen to avoid.
But seemingly, this question persists, Lynda.
KINKADE: Yeah, absolutely. And the other country, of course, facing a doping scandal is Russia. The Paralympic team yesterday banned from
competing next month.
What's been your reaction from Russians there?
WALSH: Well, Russia is back in the U.S. who have yet to arrive for the 7th of September Paralympics are referring to this as deeply unfair. A lot of
the individual para athletes are very upset, consider this is slight against their character as individuals.
More broadly, the foreign ministry has referred to how this is a treason towards the human spirit
and other Russian officials are referring to this as a violation of human rights and deeply unfair.
It's odd because this reaction has come the day after the actual decision. We were at Russia House yesterday, a very muted, frankly, reaction to that
initial decision. I think to some degree, the Russians are realizing they have to react to this as strongly as they did to the original International
Olympic Committee ruling, which actually went more in their favor eventually in the end.
The real issue here, Lynda, is two separate sets of standards. How is it possible that the IPC, when faced with exactly the same set of allegations
against the Paralympiads, decide to ban all of them whereas exactly the same set of allegations placed against the Olympiads here competing in the
competition already behind me here result in this quite lengthy procedure that the International Olympic Committee embarked on where they let
individual federations choose -- vet each separate Russian athlete to decide whether they're clean or not. And that process of review meant that
287 Russian athletes going through it, 271 of them at the first count could get through. That number keeps going up, it seems, day by day.
So, it was overwhelmingly in Russia's favor, but the IPC verdict was overwhelmingly against them, banning them entirely.
So, that's the question that persists. How come these two different sets of judgment are possible between these two different Olympic committees?
KINKADE: Absolutely. That decision certainly raising many more questions.
Nick Paton Walsh, great to have you with us from Rio. Thank you.
Well, while all these problems are sorted out, here is what is going on day three of the Rio Olympics. American swimming Katie Ledecky fresh off
breaking her own record is back in the pool for the 200 meter freestyle today.
In the men's gymnastics, a Japanese Koi Uchimura, known to his fans as Superman, is considered the man to beat.
And overall, let's have a look at the medal tally. The United States, China, and Australia each have three gold medals. Italy, South Korea, and
Hungary round out the top six with two gold medals each. The U.S. leads with 12 medals in total.
Well, the travel nightmare is easing somewhat for passengers of the world's second largest airline. A limited number of Delta Airline flights are now
taking off after the company earlier grounded all departing flights worldwide because of a global computer system outage. It's going to be a
long travel day for customers as Delta scrambles to clear the backlog of flights.
While Delta is a U.S. carrier, the problems don't stop there. Delta flights right around the world are experiencing delays.
Well, let's get to our CNN Money correspondent Samuel Burke now. He's a London's Heathrow Airport.
And Samuel, it sounds like this problem started in Atlanta, the home of Delta's headquarters.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN MONEY: That's right. It started in Atlanta, but it's affected so many people, even here at London's Heathrow Airport.
But I just want to allow the cameraman to pan over here to see for the first time we're actually seeing a Delta Airliner move. We haven't seen
any leave. We've seen them come in, but we haven't actually seen them move away from the gate. So, that looks like a sign that things are headed in
the right direction, Lynda.
We now know that 300 flights are going to be canceled today. Think about how hard it is just to get another ticket if you show up for a flight
that's late, because there are so few seats on flights now.
We're now seeing actually two different Delta Airliners move toward the runway, so again more good news.
But you know it's very difficult if you're just one person trying to get another on flight. The flights are so packed now because the airlines want
to make money, that it can be very difficult. So imagine 300 flights being packed into these other time schedules.
We have seen inside people have been tweeting. Even though the computer systems have been down for Delta social media has been working fine for the
passengers, showing the Delta terminal just stuffed with hundreds of people, hundreds of people trying to get on their flights. And we have
also heard from people on other airlines saying that even though they are not on Delta, they have been getting to the gate and the airline -- the
Delta airliners have been sitting there. So, it's had this knock-on effect for so many people, not just for Delta passengers.
[11:10:40] KINKADE: Yeah, really tough for anyone traveling today, really. I have got friends and family caught up in all of it.
It really does show the huge reliance on a computer system. I know it's a difficult question, but is there any word on when the backlog will ease?
BURKE: Well, they're saying that over the next few hours, but when you talk about that, many flights, it's really going to be over the next few
days if it is 300 flights indeed.
Now, they still have put about 800 flights today. And there will be 6,000 flights globally.
One thing that's interesting to note here, though, Lynda, they say this all started with a power problem in Atlanta. So, of course, we want to know
how come the backup system didn't work efficiently enough that they just came on and kept the computer systems going? Those are the type of
questions we are going to need answered over the next few days, because you have to think about all different types of situations.
No, they haven't talked about the possibility of a hack here. There's no sign of that. But as somebody who covers cyber security and technology,
that's the first thing that comes to mind. If their computer systems couldn't work in a backup mode for a power outage, what would they do in a
Those are the type of questions we're going to be pursuing over the next couple of days.
KINKADE: Right. Good work. Samuel Burke out there covering the story for us from Heathrow Airport. Thank you very much.
Well, now for some other stories on our radar. There's been no claim for responsibility in the abduction of two university instructors in
Afghanistan's capital. An official tells CNN one of the victims is American, the other Australian.
Authorities say the two men were forced from their car at gunpoint on Sunday.
In the Philippines, nearly 50 officials have surrendered after being accused of having connections to illegal drug trafficking. Those
accusations are made by President Rodrigo Duterte in a speech on Sunday. He named more than 150 officials. 18 mayors and 31 police officers have
turned themselves in, that's according to a police spokesman.
At least 40 people were killed by landslides in Mexico after Tropical Storm Earl battled the east of the country. The states of Puebla and Vera Cruz
were as the hardest hit.
Well, in Syria, the government has delivered supplies to civilians in the part of Aleppo it controls. State media and the Sryian Observatory for
Human Rights say fuel and food were delivered after rebels cut off the main supply route. However, little aid has
reached rebel-held districts of Aleppo. The opposition says roads are too dangerous for aid trucks to travel. Syrian war planes conducted new air
strikes after rebels say they effectively broke the government siege over the weekend.
Well, meanwhile, retreating ISIS fighters are using civilians as humans shields in another strategic city in the north. The U.S.-backed alliance
of Arab and Kurdish fighters has offered the militants safe passage if they freed those civilians in Manbij.
For more on those developing stories, CNN's senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen joins me now.
Fred, firstly looking at Aleppo, the air strikes continuing to pound areas southwest of the city. And the rebels on the ground there are promising to
double their numbers to fight back.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, they're promising to double their numbers. And the other thing that they said is
that they have launched an operation to take all of Aleppo away from the regime. They say that that's something that they're going to be trying to
do over the next couple of weeks, next couple of days.
It really has been remarkable, the reversal that's seems to have taken place there on the battlefield. It was just a couple of days ago that
Aleppo was still completely encircled by regime forces. And then over the weekend, the rebels were able to break the regime taking one key place in
the south of -- in the southwest of Aleppo called the Ramousay (ph) Artillery School where rebel forces pushed from both sides, some of them
Islamist, some of them more moderate rebel factions.
They've now managed to cut the main regime's supply line into the regime- held part of Aleppo. And now they say they want more. The regime, for its part, has said it is also sending more reinforcements. And then of course
you have the air power, both the Syrian air force as well as the Russian air force, conducting air strikes in and around Aleppo, but also
against other rebel strongholds as well.
Meanwhile, on another front in Manbij, which is very close to the Turkish border, but also on the way to ISIS's self-decalred capital of Raqqah,
there's a big battle going on there with U.S.-backed forces, the Syrian democratic forces, really taking the fight to ISIS. They say they've
pretty much taken that strategic key town away from ISIS. There's basically only pockets of ISIS resistance that's left.
We managed to get some exclusive video of those Syrian democratic forces fighting against the militants. Here's what that video looked like.
PLEITGEN: These are America's most important allies in the war against ISIS in Syria, the
Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, have been pushing the terror group back for months.
But this could be their most important victory yet. Fighters say they have all but liberated the strategic town of Manbij.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have taken these areas away from ISIS.
PLEITGEN: This video obtained exclusively by CNN shows the Syrian Democratic Forces in house to house combat.
The group is made up of mostly Syrian Kurds, many of them women, but also includes Arabs
and foreigners like Damian (ph) from France.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): First of all, I came to fight, I came to fight ISIS because they're also in France, because they are a
common enemy. This is an enemy that we also have in France.
PLEITGEN: Manbij is a strategic logistics hub for ISIS. It lies halfway between the Turkish border and the extremist's self-declared capital
Raqqah. Taking it means choking off much of the group's supply and fighters. The U.S. is providing aerial support for the SDF fighteres,
strikes that have made a major difference on the battlefield, but there are reports of more than 100 civilian casualties. The U.S. military is
investigating the deaths.
And even with American air power, the going has been tough. ISIS booby trapping much of the
Manbij, some of its bomb-making factories later discovered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mostly they used handmade mines, because we have surrounded them, they had no manufactured materials left. They had nothing
left. They even used teapots to make mines.
This is also a belt for explosive materials. They fasten the belt filled with explosives to themselves.
PLEITGEN: The SDF fighters had to battle snipers and determined ISIS foot soldiers. ISIS released this video showing its militants on the front
lines using suicide truck bombs to try and halt the advancing U.S.-backed force.
The U.S. has called Manbij, quote, a fight like we haven't seen before. Many of the civilians are simply happy to have escaped with their lives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We were afraid of ISIS, but today we are free. When we were in Manbij there were four snipers above
our house. And when we tried to flee, the sniper shot at us. Their bullets came down like rain. ISIS didn't allow
us to leave. If they capture us and see us, they will kill us.
PLEITGEN: Some of the women saved from ISIS's grasp burned the abaya's they were forced to wear in celebration. But while these civilians rejoice
for now, the SDF will have to fight many more tough battles before ISIS is destroyed.
PLEITGEN: And of course the ultimate goal for those Syrian Democratic Forces, as for the U.S.-led coalition is to try to oust ISIS from Raqqa.
However, all the signals that we're getting is that the actual battle for Raqqah is still one that could be several months away.
Nevertheless, the U.S. also saying taking Manbij is a very, very important milestone that as those pro-U.S. forces try and move their way torwards
Raqqa and of course try and continously take territory away from ISIS -- Lynda.
KINKADE: OK, Frederik Pleitgen, great to have you with us. Thank you.
Well, still to come, Donald Trump is getting ready to address an issue at the heart of the U.S. election. And we'll preview a big speech less than
an hour away and see how Trump is hoping to reset the conversation after a slide in the polls.
Plus, why the president's support for the death penalty could spell death knell for Turkey's
EU ambitions. Explanation and analysis of President Erdogan's position is next.
[11:21:40] KINKADE: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me, Lynda Kinkade, welcome back.
Well, Donald Trump is trying to put a very rough week b ehind him and focus on what he considers to be one of his strong points: the economy.
The Republican presidential nominee will give a major speech in Detroit in the next hour detailing his plans to cut taxes and boost jobs. Trump's own
poll numbers need a boost as well after a series of controversies.
Have a look at the new CNN poll of polls, which incorporates six major polls conducted after the Republican and Democratic conventions. It finds
Hillary Clinton holds a ten-point lead over Trump nationwide.
Well, one of Trump's favorite themes of course is winning. You may have heard him say that
America is going to win so much if he is elected that people will get sick of it.
Well, he is now suggesting that if he loses to Clinton it's because victory was stolen from him. Have a listen to what Trump told Sean Hannity from
Fox News on the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: You said in a speech today you're afraid this election is going to be rigged. Explain.
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yeah. Well, I've been hearing about it for a long time.
And I'm telling you November 8 we better be careful, because that election is going to be rigged. And I hope the Republicans are watching closely, or
it's going to be taken away from us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, CNN's Brian Stelter says Trump's words are dangerous for America's democracy. Brian, of course, is the host of CNN's Reliable
Source and joins us now live from New York. Good to have you with us, Brian.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Thank you.
KINKADE: In your opinion piece, which is on CNN.com now, you call on the media to push back on Trump's claims of a rigged election. Just explain
STELTER: I think with any candidate, Republican or Democrat, is calling the very legitimacy of the election in question journalists and
interviewers have to do more than just listen to the words and then move on.
Sean Hannity in that clip, he's a talk show host. He's a proud Republican. I love watching his show usually, but even an interviewer who supports the
candidate I think has an obligation to challenge that kind of dangerous rhetoric. When Trump, in particular, is talking
about a possibility of a rigged election, what he is doing is he is setting the stage to delegitimize the
results in November.
That's the kind of thing we sometimes see in third world dictatorships. It's the kind of things you all cover sometimes in other countries, but not
in the United States. We have not heard a candidate for president talk this way before.
So, essentially what I was suggesting over the weekend was these unusual times call for unusual responses from journalists.
KINKADE: You said Sean Hannity's interview was an example of how not to interview a candidate. Just tell us what disturbed you the most.
STELTER: I think the issue is that he just took Trump's words at their face value and then ended the interview as opposed to pushing him back,
probing further, asking more questions.
The reality is that Trump right now is avoiding doing most interviews outside Fox News. He hasn't appeared on CNN and other channels in several
weeks. When he does start to give interviews again, I think we have got to ask him again and again about this claim of a rigged election. What sort
of evidence do you have? And do you realize how dangerous it is to be propagating these notions?
I think the issue I see is that people like President Obama and other experts have come out and said it is ridiculous to suggest that the
election is going to be rigged against Trump. But President Obama is not the best messenger for this because Republicans tend not to trust him
So it is really conservative media figures and Republican Party leaders that need to take the lead on this, speaking out and ensuring the integrity
of the voting system.
Right now we haven't heard that. Instead from Hannity, we're hearing him go along with it, agreeing with Trump, suggesting there's been
abnormalities in past elections. And the reality is in the United States voter fraud is very rare. It does happen once in a while, but it is very
rare. It is investigated and it doesn't change the result of national elections.
So, I think journalists and interviewers have got to say that loud and clear at a time like this when Trump is raising questions about the
integrity of the system.
KINKADE: That's right. And of course, there are a few tweets exchanged. Hannity did tweet to you.
STELTER: Right, right.
KINKADE: As you mentioned, suggesting the 2012 election was rigged. We'll just bring up this tweet.
He also questioned whether -- well, he called, really, Hillary Clinton a liar.
STELTER: Right. This is par for the course in some ways for Hannity. But I think the problem for some of these conservative media leaders is that
they are in their own bubble. They are in their own echo chamber.
What Hannity keeps pointing to is the fact that in Philadelphia and in Cleveland in 2012, there
were some precincts where there were zero votes for Mitt Romney. It was 100 percent for Barack Obama. Well, that actually makes a lot of sense
given the demographics of those precincts, heavily minority communities, almost entirely African-American, voting for the first African-American
There were also precincts in other states like Utah where there were zero votes for Obama and 100 percent voting for Mitt Romney. Well, people like
Sean Hannity leave those details out.
I think the issue is when you have a candidate like Donald Trump who is watching cable news all day, in particular Fox News, and hearing what
people like Sean Hannity are saying and they're repeating it back to bigger audience, you get this sense of an echo that isn't accurate at all. So,
they're not starting from a basis of facts.
And that's what makes covering Trump uniquely difficult. You know, in this morning's New York Times, media columnist Jim Rutenburg raised this broader
point. If I can quote from him, he says "when covering Trump, do normal standards apply? And if they don't, what should take their place?"
You know, that's the question a lot of journalists, a lot reporters, are asking themselves today and in the weeks and months ahead. Because Trump
is such a unique candidate, oftentimes making inaccurate statements, it is a real challenge we haven't seen before in
American media about how to cover him.
KINKADE: Yeah, it's a good question, one we should all keep in mind. Brian Stelter, great to have you with us. And your piece, as I said, is on
CNN.com. Thank you.
KINKADE: Well, live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Still to come, dozens of dead, many of them lawyers. We will have the latest from
Pakistan as a bomb rips through a hospital in Quetta.
And he's only spoken on TV once before, what Japan's emperor said in his televised address and what it means for the country's monarchy. That story
in about 20 minutes time.
[11:31:24] KINKADE: At least 70 people dead and more than 100 injured after a bomb blast in a hospital in western Pakistan. It happened in the
city of Quetta. The crowd of lawyers and journalists gathered following the death of a prominent lawyer earlier in the day.
CNN producer Sophia Saifi has the details about Islamabad.
Sophia, just talk to us about the location of where this happened. Why is it a strategic location?
SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Lynda, the location where this happened is actually a hospital. It was the civil hospital of Quetta City, which is
the capital of Belochistan Province.
Now, Belochistan is a province which has seen an insurgency against the government for almost -- over a decade. And the reason why this has become
important, what you've seen is that after this attack, you've seen the chief of army staff and the prime minister fly in and make very strongly
worded statements that this attack was an attempt to kind of destroy the China-Pakistan economic corridor, the CPAC corridor which is a lifeline for
And the Pakistani government and the military have been working very hard to convince China that this is a safe area. The port of that province,
Guather (ph) is -- it's supposed to be like the second biggest port in the country, which is going to be built by Chinese money and Chinese funding,
which is why this fear that this rise of militancy -- further rise of militancy in Belochistan could kind of completely destroy those plans --
KINKADE: And Sophia, one group has claimed responsibility. What can you tell us about them?
SAIFI: Well, we know that Jamaat-ur-Ahrar has claimed responsibility for this attack. They are a splinter faction of the TTP, the Pakistani
Taliban. And they are known for their extremely bloody attacks. So, we know that -- you know, they were responsible for the deadliest attack that
took place in this year. Earlier this year, when a children's amusement park was targeted. They are known for targeting soft targets. They have targeted
churches. They have targeted amusement parks. And now we see a hospital being targeted, where lawyers were killed, the young creme de la creme of
this country, the doctors, the lawyers, the young journalists and cameramen who have lost their lives today in this hospital where lawyers were
targeted -- Lynda.
KINKADE: Sophia, what can you tell us about the killing of this lawyer which then led to this attack?
SAIDI: We know that -- so the claim of responsibility says they're going to continue to target lawyers. Now, this continuation is this attack that
took place, this targeted killing of the lawyer this morning, was the third in a series of attacks on lawyers this entire week
What we know is that they haven't really given a reason for why they are specifically targeting lawyers, but we know that this was an extremely
planned attack. This lawyer, he was a young man who was the former president of the Belochistan Bar Association. He was
killed this morning. Lawyers took his body to the mortuary and they were taking it out when the suicide bomber slipped in and detonated his
So there is a bit of confusion to why lawyers are being targeted, but there is no denying it these
young lawyers, these young activists, who are not very politically inclined, who don't see sectarian issues that much, who are kind of, you
know, beyond all of that, they're secular, they are the ones that are being targeted in the province -- Lynda.
KINKADE: Certainly a developing story there. Sophia Saifi, we will come back to you when you have more on this. Thank you very much.
Well, Japan's emperor now aged in his 80s is signaling his wishes to step down. Citing his age and health, the monarch told his countrymen he
started to think about his impending future. We have more now from Tokyo.
[11:35:22] WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Japanese emperor Akihito speaks on television for the second time ever, rare enough to stop people in their
tracks, even in Tokyo, a city full of distractions.
Akihito spoke not as the 125th emperor of the ancient chrysanthemum throne, he spoke as an 82-year-old man growing tired after cancer and heart
"I'm worried that it might become difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the
state with my whole being, as I've done until now,"he says.
Akihito can't actually say he wants to abdicate. Japan's post-war constitution says the emperor's once absolute power is purely ceremonial
and he must not influence the law. The law says an emperor must serve until he dies. Many who watched the speech say, let the emperor retire.
"I strongly support his intention to step down. The law needs to be changed. If he thinks it's too much for him, he should hand over his
duties like a company CEO," this man says.
"I understand he's getting old. It must be hard for him to perform his public duties," he says.
Within minutes of his speech, sympathy for the much-loved emperor started sweeping across
Japanese social media. People calling for the government to change the law, let him rest.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quick to respond.
"I think we must give thought to the strain on the emperor and thoroughly consider what we can
do," Abe said.
Akihito's eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito is next in line, but changing succession law
could re-ignite a contentious debate in parliament over whether the crown prince's daughter should be allowed to ascend to power in the world's
oldest hereditary monarchy.
JEFFREY KINGSTON, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: It's a very big deal. I mean, the mass media here is paying a great deal of attention to his talk. And
really, you know, there is no legal provision for the emperor to abdicate.
[08:25:05] RIPLEY: After taking the throne nearly 30 years ago, Akihito became known as the
people's emperor. He showed his compassion after Japan's devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in 2011 when he sat on the floor,
comforting the victims, something previous emperors would never have done.
Now, it seems that compassion is shared by many Japanese who feel it's time to let their aging
emperor step down.
KINKADE: Well, for more on the impact of the emperor's speech, I'm joined by Angus Lockyer. He's a Japanese history lecturer at the school of
Oriental and African Studies at the University London.
Good to have you with us.
This, of course, is only the second time ever that the emperor has made a televised speech since he took the throne back in 1989. What did you make
of the speech? How significant is this in the history of Japan?
ANGUS LOKYER, SOAS, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: It's very significant. It's the second time he's made a televised speech. It's only the third time a
recorded speech has been delivered in Japanese history, the first one coming immediately after the war at the end of the war.
So it is an enormously significant moment, and you can see that in some of the reporting in the previous segment.
He obviously crafted the speech very carefully or he and his advisers crafted the speech very carefully. He's not allowed to say certain things.
He obviously wanted to say some things and he had to be very delicate about it.
KINKADE: What exactly is his role? Whats' the role of an emperor in Japan? And how is he viewed by the public there?
LOCKYER: It is a tricky one. According to the post-war constitution, whcih was written by the American occupation, he is a symbol of the unity
of the state and the people. I'm getting the phrasing slightly wrong.
So, his role is that of a constitutional monarch. And indeed it always has been in the modern period, although the wording around that has changed.
Akihito himself has been an enormously influential emperor in what he's done to bring himself closer to the people and to humanize the institution.
So, it is a moment of kind of consideration and a long progress away from a kind of pre-war emperor system which obviously a very different image to
one which is more much human.
Again, you can see that I think in the responses. People are saying let him resign. He's like a CEO. You know, this is a human thing. Let the
guy step down if he'd like.
KINKADE: Yeah. People it seems quite open to the idea of him stepping down.
He seems quite loved there. But there are of course concerns among conservatives that any change in the existing law could open the door for a
female emperor. Are there any in line and what's the possibility of that happening?
LOCKYER: This is the big, the third rail of the whole discussion, if you like. I think the problem is that you do have a split in Japan. The
overwhelming majority sees Akihito as a man who has done a good job, 80 percent I think the polling is at the moment, wants to see him allowed to
step down. But there is a hardcore conservative, sort of parliamentary members among others, some of them in the governing party, who have a very
different image of the emperor system, in some ways nostalgic for the pre- war period, perhaps, and don't want any change. They see the emperor and his family as a kind of lynchpin holding back the tides of what might have
happened under the occupation under the constitution.
So, it is tricky.
I don't think the abdication issue that much of a dangerous issue. There is another possibility
which is to allow a regent to come forward, which would be his son.
But any discussion around this does raise the issue of a female emperor.
In terms of what's possible, the crown prince himself only has one child, a daughter. His brother -- and under the existing law, the succession after
the crown prince would pass to the brother, has three children, of whom the youngest is a son. And so under existing law eventually the succession
would pass to the crown prince's younger brother's third child, if you like.
[11:41:13] KINKADE: OK, well, we'll have to leave it there for you. Angus Lockyer, good to have you with us. Thank you so much for your time.
LOCKYER: Thanks very much.
KINKADE: Well, you're watching Connect the World. Still to come, Turkey's shifting political landscape after last month's coup attempt. We'll go
live to Istanbul with analysis and a look at how both the EU and Russia are watching this carefully.
KINKADE: Well, Turkey's deputy prime minister says ten foreigners have been detained in relation to last month's coup attempt and more than 200
alleged plotters remain at large. Those comments came a day after more than a million people attended a cross party pro-democracy rally
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the crowd it was clear the public wanted the death penalty to be reintroduced to punish the plotters, and he
said he would sign it into law if parliament took the necessary steps.
His words, of course, come amid a crackdown that has seen thousands of military officers, judges, academics, and journalists detained or suspended
from their positions.
Senior international correspondent Arwa Damon joins us now live from Istanbul.
Arwa, the president has certainly tried to make a very strong case for the death penalty by pointing out that the U.S. has it as does Japan. Does he
have much support there amongst lawmakers?
[11:45:36] ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he does technically speaking potentially have enough seats between those that his
party has and those that the ultra-nationalistic party, MHP, has as well to see something like this go through parliament.
And then as you were mentioning there, he has said that he would approve it.
He also does have amongst certain elements of the population, Lynda, we have been hearing these calls for the death penalty, especially amongst his
support base. But this is something that some of his opponents are quite concerned about, fearing that it would perhaps set Turkey back instead of
allowing it to move forward.
But one also has to take into consideration where the country is right now.
That rally you were mentioning that took place yesterday, unlike any that we have seen in the
sense that millions of people came out actually. Unofficial estimates put the number as high as 5 million -- we're still waiting to see what the
official number is. But what's also significant is that this wasn't just an Erdogan, just an AKP, his political party, rally, this was held jointly
with two of the main opposition parties, the MHP and the CHP. Their leaders were there as well really all were attempting to put forward this
image of a united nation.
And it must be said that the country is yes united behind this notion that their government should not be brought down through a military coup, that
democracy must prevail, but that does not necessarily change the fact that the president himself when it comes to his opponents does still remain a
fairly divisive and polarizing figure.
KINKADE: And one of those reasons he is so divisive, particularly from an international perspective, is this continual purge of dissidents. Erdogan
vowed yesterday at that rally to cleanse Turkey of all supporters of the exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen.
DAMON: He did. And there has been this massive sweep that has taken place with tens of thousands of people either detained or been suspended from
their jobs. And, you know, Turks who support the president and a fair number of others who actually don't and the president himself will come out
and justify this by saying, look, if anything like this had happened anywhere in the west, if there had been this sort of a military coup that
came this close to succeeded in any other western country, their nations would have taken the same extreme measures.
And Turkey, and especially its government, do feel as if they are being unduly and overly harshly criticized by Europe and by the United States.
And this is something that will potentially further strain their relationship between Turkey and Europe, but also between Turkey and the
United States, because the government here feels that given the level of threat that it was facing it is justified in its actions.
And at this stage there is more or less the support of the population that does stand behind to a certain degree the actions that the government is
But the nation is also at a crossroads. Can the president capitalize on this unity that we're seeing right now, or if this type of crackdown
continues that these crackdowns are not adequately justified will he then alienate those who are currently standing beside him?
KINKADE: Yeah, good questions there. Arwa Damon for us live in Istanbul. Thanks so much.
Well for more on all of this, I'm joined by an Ega Steckin from London. He's an analyst with IHS Country Risk there. Good to have you with us.
Turkey of course aspires to be part of the EU. Would a reintroduction of the death penalty essentially end any chance they have of securing
EGE SECKIN, IHS COUNTRY RISK: Well, it is important to remember that the removal of the death penalty back in the mid-2000s was a symbolic step
forward in terms of Turkey's EU succession bid.
So, it carries a symbolic value for Turkey's integration of the EU. And accordingly, to reintroduce it would be a clear message from the Turkish
state and from the Turkish public that the intentions have changed at this point in time.
KINKADE: And when you say the intentions have changed, that EU membership isn't as important?
SECKIN: That seems to be the case.
The Turkish bid for accession to the EU has really slowed down in the past couple of years, and that's partly because of the the Turkish
prioritization by the government of other issues. Of course, you have the Syrian crisis and various other regional problems that are really
preoccupying the Turkish government. And of course you have questions about the trend in democracy and the rule of law in the country, which have
really decreased the motivation on the European Union's behalf as well.
So, what we see currently is a formal accession process that still seems to be on the table. But besides that there seems to be no true genuine
motivation or gravitas on either side of the table.
KINKADE: The crackdown we've been seeing in Turkey has led to at least 18,000 people being detained or arrested, thousands of workers have been
suspended or dismissed. It is drawing a great deal of criticism, especially from EU leaders. One German leader likened Erdogan's moves to
purge the state institutions to the Nazi Party. What do you make of that?
SECKIN: I think it's -- I mean, I won't go ahead and question whether this should be compared to the Nazi Party or not, but the problem from the
perspective of the Turkish government is that the European Union leaders and the U.S. for that matter who have shown so much
interest in what is happening in the aftermath of the coup, during the coup attempt itself displaced a very ambiguous wait and see approach, which has
really disillusioned and disappointed both the Turkish government and the Turkish public. And that's part of the dynamic here at play.
And this is part of why -- this part of the reason why the Turkish government is showing so much -- is not happy with the situation.
And we still have not seen such focus on the coup attempt itself in terms of the support of
Turkey's western allies for the democratic standards in the country.
KINKADE: You talk about this wait and see sort of reaction from the EU and the U.S. what was Turkey expecting from them in the midst of the coup?
SECKIN: So, what happened was we saw Russia very quickly and very cleverly make a statement supporting democracy and supporting the elected government
in the country whereas the U.S., for example, their statement was focusing instead on stability and continuity in Secretary Kerry's words broadly.
And this was a very clear demonstration of a degree of wait and see policy on their behalf.
The Turkish government would have liked to see its NATO allies stand more firmly on their side in the midst of this crisis. And of course this wait
and see, this ambiguous approach was partly motivated by the distrust of the western governments at this point of the Turkish government and the
fact that they're so unhappy with the trend in democratic standards in the country and the rule of law, which has really deteriorated in the past
KINKADE: Well, the Turkey president and the Russian president will meet today, so we'll see how that meeting plays out. Ege Seckin, great to have
you with us. Thanks for your analysis.
Coming up, we'll go back to Fukushima, a look at some former residents returning to a place they once called home. Stay with us.
[11:55:18] KINKADE: Welcome back. We've been covering the Japanese emperor's rare televised address to his nation, something he has done only
In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, he comforted the country. And in tonight's Parting Shots, we follow two photographs who went back to the
contaminated city to take a look at what Fukushima was and what its become.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This project is about the exclusion zone surrounding Fukushima
Daiichi nuclear plant. This kind of crisis happened only twice on Earth: in Chernobyl 30 years ago and 5 years ago in Fukushima.
In Fukushima, they decided to close it, launch a massive campaign of decontamination and plan to reopen it one day.
What remain in a region where 80,000 people were forcibly evacuated from one day to the next. How do you live with the risk of contamination that
is invisible? How does nature makes its mark on every building, every thing, as time goes by.
And finally, what do the former residents think about going back to their ghost towns?
One of my favorite pictures is one of a man sitting at a big table of a traditional restaurant. We asked former residents to go to the places they
used to know and pretend to live in front of our camera like nothing happened.
The most important for us is the stories of Fukushima residents who took part into the project
and the moment we shared with them.
My name Guillen Masson (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is (inaudible). These were our parting shots.
KINKADE: Some incredible images there.
Well, that was Connect the World. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Thanks so much for joining us. I'll be back tomorrow.