Japan, Latvia and Georgia

Owen Bennett Jones introduces personal stories, wit and insight from BBC correspondents around the world. In this edition: how survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki feel about a new threat from radiation, and why Latvians and Georgians have such different attitudes to the Russian language after the collapse of the USSR.

A lingering taint

The nuclear bombs used against Japan at the end of the Second World War left a terrible legacy … not just the bereavement of those who lost their families, but also the lingering health worries of survivors.

They have lived for decades with a lasting fear of what hidden damage radiation might be causing them, and sometimes even faced ostracism or isolation from the rest of Japanese society.

After the tsunami earlier this year, their continued concerns have rippled out to a wider section of the country's population.

Mariko Oi revisited Nagasaki to hear their views on what Japan should do to stay safe - and keep the lights on.

Attitudes and latitudes

This month sees the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union: on December 25th 1991 the USSR officially ceased to exist.

But the Russian language still plays an important, and at times controversial, role in the region.

Until January Damien McGuinness was the BBC's Baltic States correspondent in Latvia, one of the northernmost ex-Soviet republics.

Now he’s based in Georgia far to the South. And he’s struck by how different attitudes are towards the Russian language at these two ends of the former Soviet Union.

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10 minutes

Last on

Sat 17 Dec 2011 04:50 GMT

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